MOVING CUSTOMER SERVICE TO THE FRONT OFFICE
If there’s any doubt as to where customer service fits in your organization, let me state emphatically: Customer service is a front-office strategic imperative that belongs at the same table as strategic planning, marketing communications, branding, and advertising. It is a critical driver vital to providing brands with unique points of differentiation and businesses with a sustainable competitive advantage. I’d even go so far as to say that customer service (as a foundation-setting capability and pivotal pillar of a customer experience imperative) may very well prove to be THE single biggest and most-defined strategic and competitive differentiator.
However, in order to realize this, customer service has first got to move from being considered a cost to one hell of a sound investment. Second, the breadth and depth of customer service must be expanded significantly to cover a much broader spectrum of touch points and categories, with a commensurate deeper level of follow-through and interaction (à la the conversation prism or wheel). Third, this overhaul requires another kind of flip—one that’s associated with recruiting, training, empowering, and compensating those responsible for customer service.
Why on earth would you outsource a crucial function as a decentralized, offshore cost center? It makes no sense to essentially pawn off (at least in terms of proximity to the center of the organization’s decision-making and ...