Customer Service as a Growth Engine

Just wanted to send a quick recommendation for two articles in today’s Wall Street Journal (June 7, 2010).

The first, “Customer Service as a Growth Engine,” reinforces the message that as the economy rebounds (albeit slower than any of us had hoped), companies are investing in improving customer service – “Just over a quarter of the 1,405 companies surveyed by Accenture late last year said customer service would be the first area they’d increase funding for as the economy recovers. Some companies have begun that practice this year.”

The same article goes on to say that American Express is “expanding a training program started last year aimed at getting call center agents to focus less on resolving calls quickly, and more on building customer loyalty.” From personal experience I can tell immediately when a call center’s only accountability metric is call volume per agent. No warm, fuzzy feelings there.

The other recommended article in today’s WSJ is actually a review for a book written by Zappos founder and CEO, Tony Hsieh. The book (which I haven’t read yet), is titled, “Getting a Foothold Online: Delivering Happiness,” and recounts the birth and growth of the giant online shoe seller. The key lines come toward the end of the article – “He freed his reps from scripts, from mandates to sell, from having their calls timed. The reps had only one imperative: Wow customers. And they did.”

If you’re looking for ammunition to support your argument for improving customer service in your organization, check out the articles and pass them along.

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