By Shep Hyken
Many companies still believe that customer service is what happens when something goes wrong. However, that is only one part of customer service. The bigger picture is that customer service happens throughout a customer’s entire experience while doing business with you. It starts the moment they interact with your company, and that might not even be with a live human. It could be an interaction they have with your website.
Companies spend a lot of money to get you interested in what they sell and eventually get you to buy. Traditionally, that is marketing and sales. Then, throughout the journey, you have an experience. That experience could be with a salesperson or any other company employee who aids in the purchase.
Or, it can be a customer landing on the company’s website and navigating to find what they want, eventually making a purchase. While the customer isn’t interacting with a human, they are interacting with a website that was built by humans to be used by humans. That is part of customer service and experience. Suppose the website provides bad service in the form of a cumbersome or complicated way to find the product and make the purchase. In that case, the customer may move on to another company’s website.
The point is that customer service is much more than a department that handles problems, questions, and complaints. It’s how a customer is treated at every step of doing business with you.
And that leads me to an important point. We recently had a client say their training budget didn’t have money allocated to customer service training. They were, in effect, saying they had no money budgeted to support what is arguably one of the most important reasons a customer would choose them over a competitor: the customer service and experience they receive when doing business with the company.
This could have been a difficult hurdle to overcome until we shared that customer service training could come from the marketing budget. Typically, companies spend a lot of money training salespeople, which often falls under the sales budget, not the training budget. They also spend a lot of money on marketing. And when you look at the outcome of a customer service interaction between a customer and any employee of the company, you’ll realize the result is more about marketing than just resolving issues and answering questions.
So, even if you have the budget for customer service training in the training and development department, stop thinking of customer service as problem-solving. Think of it as marketing – because it is!