Great Customer Service Begins With Adequate Resources

October 18, 2012
Great Customer Service Begins with Adequate Resources | Empty cash registers

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.

3 thoughts on “Great Customer Service Begins With Adequate Resources”

  1. I’m a huge fan of quality customer service. This past summer I had occasion to stay at the Hilton in Chicago. I felt like they treated me very well, so when I returned six weeks later, you guessed it, I went back to the Hilton. I’ve joined their rewards program and will probably consider them first in any future travel plans I might make.

    On the other hand, when I receive poor customer service, I’ll generally write a blog post about it and cast aspersions on the quality of the parenting that the person received, move quickly to their questionable hygiene, and then compare them to Genghis Kahn. Admittedly, I do just like working Genghis Kahn into a post, and Hitler is so overused, …I digress.

    The point is, I can be reasonable and if apologized to, when a problem arises, then I can forgive. When GoDaddy had problems last month and many of the sites hosted through them were down, mine included, I simply contacted customer service and they treated me well. An apology and one free month of service, and I was confident that they were doing their best to get everything back up and running.

    So, I guess all I’m really saying is, good point…and good post.

    1. Thanks for the comment Brian — and the humor.

      I, too, am on GoDaddy and the primary reason is their customer service. I have a friend who is a web designer who used to always tell me that I was a fool for paying so much for hosting (even though it is really inexpensive). I used to tell him that the time I save being able to get a human on the phone two or three times a year pays for itself. I spoke with him recently, and where does he put his clients? GoDaddy — because he needs to be able to get problems fixed ASAP when one of his clients’ sites have a problem. The moral: Good service is usually worth paying for. 🙂

      As for the issue last month, it was the first major outage in their history. GD handled it well from the recovery standpoint, but this business is not one that is very forgiving regarding outages. I had major concerns about missed emails during that event, and I still don’t know what might have been missed.

  2. Pingback: 209: (Tip) Do You Have the Resources for Service?

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