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Excellent Customer Service Starts At Home

Updated on February 27, 2011

In your home country, not overseas

The latest cost-saving measure by so many global and national corporations to move their customer service operations to a low cost (therefore, low quality) option, that is not inside the boundaries of your national place of residency, is turning out to be a poor excuse for customer service, never mind Excellent Customer Service.

They often use the euphemism of “Customer Support” instead of customer service because the individual on the other end of the telephone line (yes, toll free) makes it look like they really care about your problem when, in fact, they are just trying to get you to agree that your problem is now closed. The fact that they do not speak in a manner that makes the content be clearly understood is no doubt, due to the reality that their accent is foreign to your culture. The results that most users get are just about intolerable and hanging up, ending your chat conversation or deleting your email response is the more likely route that most unsatisfied customers take to end the ordeal. This is usually because you have no way of actually communicating directly with the company anymore. These operations are paid to act as a buffering agent between the customer and the company providing the product or service.

So here is the message to the company that wants to stand out above the crowd and actually provide Excellent Customer Service. Set up local or at least national offices in the countries you do business and staff them with knowledgeable, well-trained customer service representatives that communicate clearly with a confused customer looking for a quick solution to using your product or service properly. Then go out and promote this concept to your marketplace and watch the customers flock to your door.

Decreasing competition and mergers are clearly behind the huge drop in the quality of customer service over the last few decades. Cost-cutting measures actually create a downward spiral in business since the quality of products and services also deteriorate. Demand drops off because the customer doesn’t want to pay more for less in the long run.

To get demand to increase, offer more for less and your sales will grow dramatically. Yes it does take creativity, research and ingenuity to achieve this elusive goal, but the long term survival of all corporations depends upon it. The time is now to change the direction of companies and it starts with a solid close-to-home program of Excellent Customer Service. It has the added advantage of helping our local economies which means we have more gainfully employed buyers available for those products and services.

It’s a simple approach to a complex economic problem that takes some thinking outside the box. It’s not for the bottom-line thinkers sadly. They only know how to slowly destroy the quality in an operation. They might consider more in-sourcing instead of trying to outsource all of the corporation's "problems". Excellent Customer Service just turns a problem into a new business opportunity for those smart business people that embrace its philosophy.

And then I found that Excellent Customer Service does exist. Recently, I upgraded a slumbering pastime of mine that needed to come out of a long resting spell—making music with the use of a home studio which is now referred to as a digital audio workstation. I never understood how technology and musical creativity could find a way to work effectively together but it does. Most musicians are free-spirited and find the technical discipline of working with computer software, sequencers, sample editors and the like very frustrating as did I initially.

So when I set up my latest configuration which is basically a good laptop coupled with a Steinberg USB audio interface, Cubase sequencing software, keyboard controller, electric guitar and microphone, it didn’t start out too well.  The sound that was triggered by the keyboard suffered with delays, another sound library wouldn’t even load and there were many other issues that made me feel like this was a big mistake. The manuals (downloaded .pdf files) are some help but they aren’t that detailed and are often missing the right stuff.

So I sent my support request to Steinberg which ends up who knows where—maybe in Germany. But the request gets rerouted to a representative in Canada (my country of residence) who is knowledgeable, understandable, helpful and very genuine about helping one fix what is not working as it should. My hat is off to Lindsay for the help he (I’m assuming that Lindsay is a he, you can’t really tell on the Internet) is providing in getting me through the various roadblocks that I find that my peanut-brain just can’t seem to resolve.

Excellent Customer Service has a way of quieting post-purchase frustration and leaves you with a feeling that you have made the right decision in purchasing the product. I have a very high opinion of the quality of Steinberg products and Lindsay has a lot to do with that attitude. So Steinberg has made a wise decision on how they choose to handle customer support in Canada, in my opinion.  Steinberg recognizes that it has a lot of competition and the service is an integral part of marketing their suite of products.

Maybe that is the problem with the back room farming sites for customer support. There is nothing like competition to make for a better product for the consumer. I think it is time for more competition in the field of communications services, as an example. There really isn’t much difference in what they offer, just likes banks are really only offering a standard commodity. So they don’t see a problem farming out their support service to the low grade back room sites since there is really nothing unique about their product.

Strong marketing involves a lot of creativity and risk-taking, so it isn’t a big surprise that communications services and banks aren’t really very good at it—too many suits and not enough musicians in the mix I think, in my opinion.

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