Dell finally gets the message that their customer want support staff who can actually help them, rather than read from a script, and their solution is to charge for it. To me this is like the airlines charging customers to buy a ticket through a real person rather than the Internet.
The problem here is that both situations involve the customer paying extra for something they expect to be included in the price of the product or service. And it’s a reasonable expectation. They shouldn’t have to pay for these.
That’s why I love the attitude of David Inns, CEO of Jitterbug. He said they are focused on giving their customers what they want. And they have found that providing good service is not as expensive as their outsourcing counterparts might think.
From the article:
Inns said the company briefly considered putting call center overseas—he, too, had heard that costs could be radically cut.
But he said those estimates leave out the cost of frustrating customers. “What’s missing from those estimates is what the impact is on customer satisfaction and what is the impact on first-call resolution” — that is, resolving the issue in one try.
Finally! A CEO who understands that frustrated customers impose a cost on companies. And, he notes that further costs are imposed when you do not resolve customer service issues quickly.
If you consider the loyalty costs of upset customers (increased attrition, lower share of wallet, negative word of mouth) and add those to the hard costs of not resolving customer service issues quickly then you have a different set of numbers to deal with.
Jitterbug seems to have a different approach. Their focus seems to be on how to give their customers the experience they want. That’s completely different than designing customer service based with a goal of minimizing costs.
And it will produce different results.
In the long run, companies like Jitterbug will outlast, outmaneuver and outgrow companies like Dell. They’ll do so because they put the customer first and they build their businesses around service them in a way that is profitable and sustainable. That’s a winning combination.