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Why Customer Service Continues to Deteriorate

Updated on June 9, 2013
Many businesses' customer service is still not up to standard.
Many businesses' customer service is still not up to standard.

A Customer's first Contact is the most Important

Customer service refers to all contact that a customer may have with the business. It can be via email, telephonic, fax, the Internet, social media or even in person and with different sections of the business. A customer’s first contact with a business is the most important. The first impression of the business can influence the customer’s perception of the business and future purchases. The customer has become more powerful because of social media where they can complain about a business and its products and service which can be read by thousands of people within minutes.

But sadly good customer service seems to be deteriorating at a very fast pace. Why does it happen? Why do business owners not seem to care about how they are being perceived by the public and by their customers? Or do they actually care but do not know how to ensure better customer service? This article explores the possible reasons for the continuous lack of good customer service.

Three reasons for the lack of good customer service are poor internal communication, lack of training and lack of knowledge about customers' needs.

Poor internal communication: Some businesses put more effort into communicating with external clients than with its own employees. Employees need to know what the mission and vision of the business are and how they all contribute to the long-term goals of the business. Many employees do not feel motivated because they are unaware of their own contribution in the business. Proper communication channels should be used to convey the right messages to employees.

Lack of training: Especially employees who deal with customers directly need to be properly trained. Training should include the latest information and developments about products and services and how to deal with customers. For example, training can be in areas such as telephone skills, topics of quality assurance, how to deal with complaints, how to do follow-ups and how to provide an after-sales service and even how to greet customers to find out what their needs are, to name but a few. Proper training also allows employees to become more empowered and to take ownership of all their tasks. Lack of skills is one of the main reasons why a business does not deliver a good service to its customers.

Lack of knowledge about customers: Many businesses do not know their customers, what their needs are or even what they think of the business. By not knowing the customers, and their needs, the business will not be able to fulfill their particular needs.

But what more can the business owner or manager do to improve customer service apart from providing more training, communicating more effectively or to getting to know the customers’ needs better? The following could be considered:

  • Feedback by the customer should always be respected. Make channels available to the customer to provide feedback about his or her experience of the business, its products and services. The most important aspect is to act upon the feedback and make all employees aware of it.
  • Develop an internal communication strategy to ensure that a consistent message is conveyed to the customer. A customer should never be confused about what the business stands for.
  • A customer service strategy will also be a good idea but this strategy should form part of the business’ internal communication strategy.

When the business owner or manager can get the basic things right for good customer service, customer loyalty will automatically follow.


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    • Tricia1000 profile image

      Tricia1000 4 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you for your comments. Going viral because of good customer service is the ultimate reward a company can get. Thumbs up to this elevator girl.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 4 years ago from Philippines

      I miss the good old days when the owner was at the shop and the sales people were really concerned about your need. At that time they used to say, "The customer is always right." Now, I even go to the office of my cellphone or to my bank and ask a question and THEY call a call center. Why can't they give me the answer themselves? Call centers have to finish calls within a specific no. of minutes otherwise they get a penalty so service suffers.

      Recently a major department store, Shoe Mart or (SM) had this elevator girl who went viral. It was because her voice and accent was so funny, but who gave extraordinary service. She knew every single store in every floor of the building and she would take it upon herself to inform the people in the elevator about each floor. Now, all elevator girls in SM have been taught to do the same thing. But this elevator woman became a YOuTube sensation because she was so adorable and she really worked had. She even guested on several TV shows because her YouTube got so many hits.

    • profile image

      Maryland4499 5 years ago

      After my horror story dealing with- Figis-. I realized how much customer sericve has went down the tubes. I had made a payment on line to make sure it would get there on time.WELL, that was mistake number one. Two weeks later I get a letter in the mail saying my check didn't go throught and i was going to be charge for it.(71.30)

      When I called the company to get this mess clear-up the nightmare started.

      My first clue or red flag was when the first woman answer the phone. When I told her why I was calling, her voice almost change . She ask me ,Did you get a letter. After i told her yes. The the fun really started i was connect to the recovery acct.(oh boy) I asked the woman what happen before I knew it she yelling out me telling me i key in the wrong numbers.I hung-up because it was not worst fighting with someone who has sense.

      So i sent a e-mail asking for the number I sent in to make sure it was mistake before i paid the bill.

      Guess what I'm still waiting. When I look at my on line acct. I see it back to what I do owe. I'm now looking into seeking leagl action. these women who answer the phone assume I was making an excuse to not paid my bill and it was not so. Has customer service,gone down it has.

    • Davesworld profile image

      Davesworld 5 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

      Customer service begins at the top. If management does not respect the need for customer service, you the customer won't get it. In my career in software sales, I have worked for a company which was consistently rated at the top for customer service, and a company which was consistently rated as one of the worst. The difference was, in one instance management wanted the high rating, in the other management viewed customer service as burden.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      I really believe that staff need to understand their role in the organization, the reason behind the culture & what the vision & mission is & the link back to their role. What they connect with these concepts the customer becomes the centre of what they do and this will naturally lead to exceptional customer service. Really enjoyed your hub tricia1000.