Seth G. has pointed out the wall that defines the old way of customer interaction. A recent experience I had in customer service perfectly illustrated this point. When it comes to selling a product, competitive advantage usually is found in price, quality, or product differentiation. I’ve always been a fan of supporting local businesses, especially if the product or service is generic. In fact, I would even pay a higher price point and accept marginally lesser goods or services to that end. The only requirement is excellent customer service. Being local is a competitive advantage unavailable to your typical large corporate business and one that should be leveraged. In one short month, I went from cheerleader to opponent. How do you do that? Easy, patronize your customer, don’t deliver or follow through on your word, and blame your service failure on others.
Question: Why don’t companies realize the need to invest in customer service training, monitoring, and evaluation of their frontline employees?
A company’s frontline employees typically are the ones that have the most interaction with their clients. This is especially true in the hospitality business, and is also the case for any organization involved in selling a product or service. For example, your typical hotel desk clerk is responsible for reservations, operations, and customer satisfaction. Wow, that’s the lifeblood right there. It’s amazing how many businesses will place such a role in the hands of a poorly trained, minimum wage, and unmotivated employee. Even your typical housekeeper might have more interaction with the actual guest than say, the General Manager. These people hold the fate of the business in their hands. If you want to judge an organization’s health and future viability, one real good indicator is the quality (or lack) of their frontline staff.