An obsession for the last 3 years has been customer service. I love it! I read and watch countless books and videos on the subject. My perception of it has completely changed.
Before, I saw it as an ‘extra feature’ or the ‘icing on the cake’ of exemplary engineering. It could even be an indicator of poor quality engineering. For example, if you purchased a well renowned, high precision, reliable car. On the way out of the door, the salesman hands you a 2 year warranty . “Just in case it breaks and here’s my phone number should you have any problems. Good luck!”. Good customer service, documentation and warranties are an admission of guilt: “We’ll annoy you.” “We make mistakes.” “Our products need explaining.” “Our stuff breaks!”
Customer service seems to be even more dire in engineering and sciences. I expect great customer service in a hotel. I don’t expect it with builders, engineers or doctors. STEM workers aspire to be craftsman. “You want great customer service? I’ll give it to you! I’ll make it bigger stronger, faster, taller than before. It will never break. I’ll never make mistakes and my judgement will be beyond reproach.” Who needs support if it’s not going to fall over?
Except it does fall over. There will always be areas for improvement. As customers, we know this. Shown by customers valuing a service more after successful resolution of a problem. This is the Service Recovery Paradox.
My epiphany was to recognise the reverse causation. Bad technology doesn’t need support as a crutch. Great support requires great technology. Great customer service begets great technology by opening the door for criticism. This is why we had an online chat system from day one. Great customer service begets fitness-for-purpose by living in the shoes of your users. Fitness-for-purpose begets cost-effectiveness and productivity by solving real world problems. Great Customer Service begets Great Everything. That’s why it will always be at the forefront of everything we do at SARD.