Direct-to-Customer Commerce

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Strategic insights into the direct commerce industry, including ecommerce, direct marketing and related fields

The Illogical Nature of Good Customer Service

Have you noticed how some companies are trying to drive down the cost of customer service by making it very difficult for their customers to reach a customer service representative (CSR) in a contact center?

The premise of this strategy is that if it’s hard to reach a human CSR, customers will be compelled to go the web for customer service — which is generally accepted as being a lower cost solution to customer service. Of course, it’s also a less satisfactory solution to many customers.

Customers must learn they can have confidence in the web-based customer service tools you provide on your web site. And this takes a little time and experience (experience for your customers).

I recommend you pursue two customer service strategies, at the same time.

First, make it easy for your customers to reach a CSR by phone. I applaud Citibank who has recently advertised that anytime you call, you can reach a live operator by touching “0.” We’ve all been caught in “IVR hell.”

Second, continue to enhance your IVR and web-based customer service practices.

As the quality of your IVR and web-based services improves and as your customers gain confidence in them, the volume of calls to your contact center will decline and your customer service expenses will decline along with them.

In the end, it’s one of those classic win-win situations. Other approaches may be a win for you in the short run, but a loss for your customers in the short run — and a loss for you in the long run.

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Filed under: Direct Commerce, Uncategorized

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