The purpose of customer service in the business world has changed.
Service is no longer a “nice to have”. It has become an absolute commercial necessity. In the past, giving good service was a merely a hygiene factor, something you must provide to avoid getting complaints and to keep the customers you’ve already got.
Customer service was often treated like a caboose at the end of the train. It came after marketing, sales, operations, and logistics…and was only something you needed to provide if something else went wrong. In those cases, upsets customer would be referred to “the customer service department” where low level employees would try to close the case with least possible effort and lowest possible cost.
But that view of service is now completely obsolete.
Today, providing excellent service is a differentiator, a way of winning in the market, earning higher margins, securing greater loyalty, claiming greater share of wallet, and bigger market share.
Today, companies are taking action to build a strong service culture as a sustainable competitive advantage. They are using service to stand out from the competition, distinguishing themselves with a company culture and a commercial reputation for superior service.
The world is flatter today than in the past.
We all work in a more global context and must respond to new competition with better communication, innovation, flexibility, and speed. In today’s world, people simply need to work more effectively with each other. And not by merely going to work and doing their jobs, but by actually helping each other – customers and colleagues – to succeed.
Helping someone else succeed is uplifting service.
When your people focus on improving what they do for other people, and not just on meeting their metrics or following procedures, a passion for serving others can become a driver for success. When this happens across an entire organization, when everyone commits to uplifting their service to each other, then a service culture can take root and grow. The culture grows more attractive for customers and more rewarding for employees. The culture becomes a differentiating advantage that is difficult for other organizations to copy.