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Consistent Customer Service Across Channels: It's What's Expected

March 03, 2011
By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting, wrote recently that “providing consistent support across all channels is not an option for enterprises, it’s a strategic imperative.”

She’s correct, of course. As she put it, enterprises are “fooling themselves if they believe that their customers are not aware of inconsistent policies and service levels in their different sales and service channels. Aggressive customers identify these weaknesses and figure out how to use them to their advantage. This has become a lucrative game for some customers.”

Of course as Fluss is quick to mention, it’s not just the fault of sneaky customers, the businesses themselves “make it possible.”

Since 2001, her DMG Consulting has studied the issue of consistency between servicing channels, and much to nobody’s surprise, Fluss reports that she “continues to find it lacking in many organizations. Even worse, the inconsistency results in poor service, hurts a company’s reputation and brand, making it potentially a very costly problem.”

Take what Fluss characterizes as “a common real-life scenario: Customers who send an e-mail and do not receive a response within 24 hours often follow up with a phone call because they assume the company is ignoring them. As the staff that responds to e-mails does not have visibility into what happens in phone calls, they are likely to send a delayed response that differs from the information provided during the call.”

You can see the problem. If the business is lucky, the responses will be consistent, and the only loss is the expense of handling the same inquiry twice. But what’s more likely is the answers will be inconsistent. And now, Fluss says, “the company has a bad customer situation on their hands that may very well escalate…all because the email service level was worse than expected.”

Yes it’s going to be expensive to gussy up your infrastructure, technology, training, people and best practices to build integrations between servicing organizations, Fluss acknowledges. But as she notes, “it is going to be at least as expensive if they don’t make the necessary changes.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Chris DiMarco

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