Has Covid Killed Customer Service?
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Has Covid Killed Customer Service?

Has Covid Killed Customer Service?

When Covid hit in March 2020, the world was shut down and customer service vanished. Was it because of Covid or because companies were thinking only of survival?

In 1979, I saw organizations spending millions on advertising trying to lure customers to their place of business. I could never understand why companies didn’t deliver great customer service. I released my book, Feelings, in January 1980 based on a very simple concept: When you get great service you come back and bring your friends. When you get lousy service you tell everyone and never go back.

Organizations have used Covid and the pandemic to give up on customer service. Covid is over in almost all parts of the world (although China remains a wild card). I suggest that starting in January 2023, you focus on delivering awesome service.

All my research shows a company that delivers consistently great service builds a brand and increases the value of its business by 100% to as much as 126,000%. Amazon is still the service leader. I lost one of my hunting gloves on Saturday while hunting for pheasants in Iowa. I went online at Amazon and ordered a new pair. They were delivered Saturday night. They have speed, price, and empowerment. They spend hundreds of millions training their staff, flawless execution, and great service recovery if they ever screw up.

In 2020 I released my book Relentless: Making Customer Service Your Core Principle. Service leaders are relentless. The problem is that not many organizations are. My challenge to you is to become relentless. Step up your game and launch a service strategy in January 2023 to own and dominate the market.

(Take a look at Proven Process for Driving a Service Culture. These steps work.)

The most important person in every company is the frontline employee. Everywhere in the world, this person is the least valued, least trained, and least loved. [Editor: And least paid.] If you want high-performing, customer-driven employees it is your responsibility to build and develop these employees.

The average employee turnover is around 25% (and often exceeds 100% in QSR where frontline employees are the face of your brand). Many companies are concerned that by the time they train their employees they will be gone… so better to just spend millions on advertising and marketing (and hiring and training) instead of building indispensable customer-driven employees. I think this is crazy.

It takes a lot of work to develop a customer-driven company. It is not easy. It takes a lot of focus, energy, and some money. The payoff is significant. It is the only strategy your competitors will not copy. And you will have a 10- to 20-year lead time.

John Tschohl is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant. He is president and founder of Service Quality Institute,with operations in more than 40 countries. He is considered one of the foremost authorities on service strategy, success, empowerment, and customer service. His monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge. He also can be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Published: December 19th, 2022

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