Archive for July 4th, 2008

The Best Service is No Service. Bill Price and David Jaffee, a guest post by David Greer

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - JULY 10:  Customer servi...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Bill Price of Driva Systems and David Jaffee of Limebridge Australia recently published the book “The Best Service Is No Service“.  How to liberate your customers from customer service. Keep them happy and control costs 2008. ISBN 9780470189085.
The book advocates seven steps to eliminate the need for customer service:
  1. Reengineer your products and processes so that customers never need to contact you in the first place.
  2. Create self-service mechanisms (they suggest Web and IVR) with high success rates.
  3. It’s much cheaper to be proactive rather than reactive.  If there’s a problem, tell the customer about it before they contact you.
  4. Make it easy to contact you (e.g., web sites make contact information prominent and accessible).
  5. The entire company has to “own” the problem.  Customer problems are rarely the result of customer service, but rather the result of poor design or execution by many parts of the organization.
  6. Listen to the customer and communicate with them from their point of view.
  7. Measure great customer experience by focusing on metrics such as number of contacts per order.

In my early days at Robelle Solutions Technology, we tripled the number of customers without increasing staff.  As a software company, we spent a tremendous amount of time re engineering our products to eliminate technical support calls.  A lot of that effort went into the installation of the software.  Many software companies figure you’re only going to install a software product once, so why put a lot of effort into the installer.  The truth is that the installation process is often one of the earliest customer experiences.  Having to call technical support to get a software product installed, even if technical support is excellent, is not the best way to make a first impression.

At eOptimize, we similarly put a lot of engineering effort into both our installer and our product to eliminate technical support calls.  Our software runs in highly complex environments and interacts deeply with Microsoft Windows, Active Directory Services, and Exchange.  These are challenging products to work with in all of their combinations, but we rise to that challenge to both reduce our support costs and to insure that our customers have a great first experience.

Last week, I wrote about how automated scheduling can save your customers a lot of time by self-service scheduling via a web portal.  Our customers and their customers can save people years of time by letting our scheduling engine automate scheduling of customer appointments, exactly as Bill and David advocate in their second step. If you are passionate about customer service, I highly recommend “The Best Service Is No Service”.

David Greer

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