Customer ServiceCustomer service guru, Seth Godin left an interesting post on his blog recently about starting over with customer service.

He makes a bold statement – “Customer service is broken.”

He’s right.

It’s a great post and many companies should do themselves a favour and take a few minutes to read and digest it. The point he makes I’d like to pick up on is about companies being on the defense because they don’t understand what is required for this new era of service.

Let’s examine this for a second. I think companies are going even further than that by doing subtle things which dissuade the customer from pursuing the complaint further. Things such as what I like to call “The Telephone Key-press Labyrinth”, where a calling customer has to work their way through a veritable maze of telephone keypad options before they get through to the right or sometimes invariably wrong department. Or the “On Hold for the Bank Manager” problem you get when you walk into your local branch with a simple issue which you are told can only be dealt with by the manager, who by an amazing coincidence isn’t available until the 29th Feb – next time leap year comes around.

These are dissuasion techniques in action where companies would rather confuse/frustrate their customers into not complaining because it’s easier if you don’t have to deal with them directly.

A simple thing like being able to ring up and speak with a customer representative immediately keeps customers coming back, and not only that they’ll spread the word too about how great your customer service is.

Don’t be frightened of talking to your customers, after all they are the ones that are buying your products.