To create an experience where the customer walks away raving about your brand to his friends is the ultimate goal. To achieve this in services industry is not easy as service is not a tangible product. In the consumer electronics arena, the brands have a lot to worry about before the product reaches the customer, so how can they be expected to continue to focus on post-sales life of the product. The world post-sales is unique with its own subtle nuances and investing in that may not be a priority or core skill for the manufacturers and even be a late start.
Perhaps this is why Taylor Chastain said that customer service should not be a department. It should be the entire company. Having served more than 500,000 customers over past several years, we have garnered experience and insights into the unique service world at 247around. We define the service world in terms of these 4 Ps: people, process, performance, and perception.
Service delivery is where the rubber meets the road and as people are the medium through which our customers taste the service delivery, they are very critical to a good service. The more knowledgeable, professional, empathetic, and trained the people are the better the experience they can create for the customers. How does one ensure the service delivery people feel the same sense of urgency as the customer whose air conditioner or refrigerator is down and out on a hot summer noon? This is what we call empathy. Empathy is the cornerstone of service which drives all else and, hence, a core ingredient of our training process. Secondly when it comes to people professionalism impacts the ultimate experience like an unsaid rule and comprehensive training along the dimensions of knowledge, empathy, and communication help create a professional touch.
How does a brand ensure its customer in Gujarat feels the same about after-sales service as the brand’s customer in Guwahati? How does a brand ensure retailer of brand in Lucknow feels the same way as the retailer in Tamil Nadu?
Process and use of technology to expose the process is the blueprint that binds each entity (the brand, the retailer, the service partner, and the customer) of the service eco-system in a predictable way. No service experience can be made consistent unless a standardized process drives it, leaving nothing to chance. Process is not what the customer can touch but it is something he can feel and lack of it is like shaking hands with a person without bones. Secondly when it comes to process, automation is the inevitable tool if one wants to create such a consistent, reliable service process. Service can be a critical brand recall factor. There is a treasure of knowledge that gets created at the point of service delivery and brands will need to learn and leverage it to create that service-based differentiation.
While process and automation enable that each entity in the service chain is aware of pre-steps, next steps, and his/her responsibilities, performance measurement creates accountability. For brands aiming at creating service-based differentiation, performance measurement provides the scale to track where they are headed. Technological advancements help create rich dashboards that can unravel the best players in each team.
All-encompassing outcome of above 3 Ps gets summarized in the intangible perception. Although difficult to touch or feel perception is the magic lens through which the world sees the brand and decides which product to click on and which product to promote to their circle of influence next time.
Purchase is only the first and one-time touchpoint for the customer in the year of his purchase, but service is the repeat interaction point post-sales for the next 5-6 years. A no-brainer it is that the people (the service personnel) with whom the customers interact for the rest of the product’s life after-sales and the process that drives this interaction is performant and creates a predictable perception.