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Brand Service - Perennial Customer Service
Continuously Give Good Customer Service

BY JAGDEEP KAPOOR

There are times when the Customer Service Professional is all sugar and honey while making the sale. But once the seal is put on the deal, they disregard the customer and take him for granted. Prescription, Perennial Customer Service, has one word of advice for such Customer Service Professionals: donít. It is imperative for a Customer Service Professional to always bear in mind that he must perpetually keep his customerís satisfaction in mind. He must at all times ensure a high level of service. Before, during and even after a sale Ė forever and ever in an everlasting manner.

Customer Service is like an on-going, free-flowing, fresh water stream. There is no stagnation. There is no stoppage. The stream is endless and everlasting. It is practiced before the sale, during the sale and after the sale.

The error made by some Customer Service Professionals is to use good Customer Service only at the beginning to entice and lure the customer. Once that is done and they are sure that they have bagged the sale, they forget all about Customer Service. This is a wrong attitude. It could well lead to bad word-of-mouth and loss of customers.

A well advertised Consumer Durables showroom, in a Mumbai suburb came a cropper when it came to practicing my Perennial Customer Service Prescription. The result? Loss of a sale even though the customer needed no pre-selling.

Two children wanted to gift their grandparents a television set. They had decided on the make and model. All they had to do was pay and pick up. They walked into the store, were told that there would be no problem and paid for the television of their choice. With no television forthcoming after having waited for a while, they were told that they would have to wait longer. All the Customer Service that was made available to them before they made the payment was summarily stopped.

Suddenly all the other customers in the store were more important than them. The undivided attention they had received when had received when they had walked into the store seemed to have vanished. Upset at the change, they enquired once again for the television set they had already paid for. The once-polite Customer Service Professional brusquely told them: ď What difference will a few hours make?Ē He didnít realize that it was for their grandparents anniversary party. A few hours did indeed make a world of a difference!

Disgusted, they asked for their money back. If the shopkeeper had only known of my Perennial Customer Service Prescription perhaps he would not have lost the sale! The kids bought the television set from another store, who provided the set and service in an excellent manner.

Perennial Customer Service must be practiced at all times and at all places. That means that the same store must have a relatively uniform level of Customer Service practices across establishments.

A client who took pride in being a loyal customer of a Departmental Store outlet in the western suburbs of Mumbai, learnt to her dismay how painful a Brand Experience the lack of Perennial Customer Service can be.

The store had just opened a new outlet in Mumbaiís eastern suburb of Ghatkopar and as a Gold Card member of the Store, the customer strolled into the new outlet expecting the same impeccable Customer Service. When a member enters the establishment and makes purchases, it is customary for the store to swipe the card so that all points earned are reflected in the purchases. Unfortunately this was not done even though the person at the cash counter, in this case the Customer Service Professional, at the new store was specifically asked if he had done so. To her dismay the customer realized that she was in danger of losing all the points she had earned that day.

Fortunately, the anomaly was discovered on time and what could have been a disastrous Brand Experience was averted.

Two Promotions conducted by two different FMCG biscuit companies at different times are an example in contrasts when looked at from the Perennial Customers Service Prescription point of view.

Both were National-level promotions.

One was a success. The other was not.

In the first case, the gifts from the short-sighted biscuit company were enticing and customers bought the product liberally in order to participate. The desired sales were notched up and the company was happy. The only fly in the ointment was that the Customer Service suddenly stopped once it came to redeeming the prizes. The customers felt cheated and even though the company met their short term goals of enhanced sales, their long term goals of winning over customers for a lifetime was thwarted.

Capitalising on the cricket frenzy of a World Cup year, the other company, with long-term customer interests, ran a promo that promised ringside seats at World Cup matches with free air travel thrown in. The promotion was conducted transparently and the Customer Service was apparent right through. At no stage did the company breach any of the promises it made. In fact, winners were publicly felicitated and the media was effectively used to keep the public informed at every step of the way.

In short, the company followed my Perennial Customer Service Prescription and reaped a harvest of plenty.

Follow my Perennial Customer Service Prescription and gain Customers for life.

The author is Brand Guru Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
Tel: 022 28477700/7701 Fax: 28477699
E-mail : jkapoor@samsika.com

Copyright © 2008 All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
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