One of the least talked about aspects of customer service is resource sufficiency, and yet, all great customer service begins with this one fundamental notion: that you have the resources in place to deliver on your brand promise consistently.
It’s easier said than done.
- Does your plant have the capacity to handle a 30% increase in orders?
- How do you deliver services when one person on your three person team is out sick for a week?
- Who will look after your customers when your top salesperson is helping out with a crisis in the warehouse?
It is challenging enough to make sure adequate resources are in place to handle the peaks and valleys that businesses experience on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. The task is made even more difficult when the resources are not in place to cover even the baseline of expected demand.
For example: Since the economy tanked in 2008, many have bemoaned a perceived decline in the level of customer service. This decline was not, however, across the board. High margin companies that catered to the affluent — Apple, The Ritz Carlton, and others — continued to deliver exceptional service.
On the other hand, companies with lower margins started trying to operate on a shoestring, and service suffered. Airlines offered less routes, resulting in more crowded flights. Support centers cut positions, producing longer hold times. Retail establishments pruned schedules, creating a state of perpetual understaffing.
Perhaps these measures were needed for survival, but the results provide an abject lesson in the importance of resource sufficiency.
Without adequate resources properly allocated, delivering Hero-Class® customer service is virtually impossible.
When focusing on customer service, it is easy to get caught up in training programs, customer outreach initiatives, and satisfaction surveys — all of which are vital. However, it is more important not to lose focus on the most basic idea of all: Do we have the resources in place to deliver service levels we are striving to achieve?
If the answer is no, then you can stop wondering what your next project is, because you just found it.