Customer service as a differentiator is interesting in this industry because vendors overvalue customer service compared to what the clients tell us. Clients will leave due to bad service, but they won’t stay due to good service. So it’s an interesting line for people to walk, one that it is defined by the buyer as well.
As a result you have got this constantly moving bar where if you spend too much time on customer service it doesn’t get you additional revenue, but if you don’t spend enough on it you have clients leaving on droves. Customer service is also a changing landscape right now. You have got technology coming your way, so people want to text things to you, they want to instant message, they want e-mails, some of them want a human body and others say I don’t want to pickup the phone and call, that’s a waste of my time. So you have this constantly shifting landscape on top of a definition of what’s good and bad that’s defined by each client individually.
The biggest mistake the leader can make in regards to customer service is drinking their own Kool-Aid. So much of the time and energy of an organization is spent around servicing clients that you start to come up with this tribal wisdom and whoever is the loudest and the noisiest, be it sales rep, is correct. You have to be very, very careful that you are using the facts. In this case, data is your friend. You’ve got to spend the dollars to understand what customer service means to each of your clients, how you are going to deliver that in a very cost effective manner and you’ve got to look at the data on the cadence that is letting you see what the shifting tides are. You either spend the dollars to understand it or die – that’s it on customer service.