When did customer service get replaced by sales?

  December 4, 2013       Martin Taylor

Another interesting blog from our contact centre specialist – Martin Taylor…

I am a firm believer that delivering great customer service strengthens the trust and relationship between the customer and the supplier, overzealous selling is proven to turn off the customer so why is it used by mature, sophisticated organisations as a way to drive short term margins?
So here I am on the 7.07am to London on what can only be described as the first proper winter’s day of 2013 – first of many, I’m sure. Still, I have my yet unfaded memories of our family holiday in the sun to bask in…all great memories – or were they?
I don’t want you thinking that all I do is moan although listening to myself, it’s sometimes the impression that I come away with but I have to say that our expectations are set so high – especially with an emotive purchase such as a holiday where not only ‘my’ but the experience of my nearest and dearest is at risk – the ‘moments of truth’ and the ‘wow’ opportunities litter the days.
Were they all picked up on?
In the main, yes and I’d like to share one or two of the real ‘wow’ elements…

  1. The arrival, disregarding the shuttle bus of nerves where you’re never quite sure where you’re going to end up and every earlier stop looks divine suggesting to the pessimist that my hotel is going to resemble the Motel in Psycho, was a real wow. The resort was lovely but it was the team (several) that welcomed us, ensured we had an incredibly slick check-in, all luggage was taken to the room, the room was clean and beautifully appointed and there was a fresh salad and drinks for us all there – so far, better than good.
  2. After a comfortable air-conditioned night’s sleep, there are few better sights to wake up to than a vista of magnificent pools and a calm sea – again, so far, so wow.
  3. Admittedly, the resort was only 35% occupied therefore there was a ratio of staff to guests of what seemed roughly one to one…the service we received was virtually faultless and in some instances, positively superb – expectations were now being raised (soon to be dashed).
  4. In summary, the hotel facilities, the food, the entertainment but most of all, the service exceeded expectation and I have posted recommendations to that effect – credit where credit is due.

So what went wrong, I hear you ask?

It was the final opportunity to shine, the ride home. A plane full of naturally high passengers wistfully reliving their holiday. How simple would it be to serve and please an eager audience such as this?

So why do they turn a long term relationship focussed ‘service opportunity’ into a short term (5 hours) sales pitch?

Because they can is the only answer I’ve come up with…
Does anyone want to ‘buy’ a blanket set?
Does anyone want duty free?
We have a new Christmas range of gifts etc…..
No, we can’t make any coffee, we have no hot water!

And finally, to cap it all (and this is why, on principle, that I WON’T use them again) was:

“We will be coming round with our feedback forms, please fill them in saying how wonderful we are…” – translated as “Please share your personal saleable data with us including when your house insurance is due and your income band and we’ll sell your contact details for your to be harassed between now and your next holiday.

For goodness sake.

If you want to get together to discuss your current customer service challenges (or even holiday experiences, I draw the line at photos), your current Salesforce Sales Cloud Implementation, or how innovation may help you and your organisation achieve your advocacy goals, let me know. The coffee is on me…

Martin Taylor – Customer Service Expert