By Jim Clemmer
Despite all the proclamations, catchy advertising slogans, and customer service publicity, service levels have improved only marginally in the last few years. As Harvard Business School professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, puts it "Despite the recent media coronation of King Customer, many customers will remain commoners... most businesses today say that they serve customers. In reality, they serve themselves."
The problem is that most organizations only talk about customer service improvement. Many executives don't understand what outstanding customer service really looks like, aren't ready to turn their organization inside out to provide it, are trying to paint happy smiles on their frontline service providers, or are bolting a customer service program on the side of their organization rather than making it a part of their core strategy.
Here's some of the biggest reasons that so few organizations successfully turn their customer service rhetoric into reality:
Business is a lot like tennis, those who don't serve well end up losing. In a recent interview, Bob Green, a service/quality coordinator with AmSouth Mortgage in Birmingham, Alabama summed up the challenge facing most organizations, "The financial products from one mortgage company to another are basically the same. We're out to play `quantum leapfrog' and jump out in front of our competitors. The only way we can do that is to know our customer's overall needs more thoroughly and move more quickly to meet them than anybody else in our business."