Over the past ten years the level of customer satisfaction has edged up only slightly – for most industries in the vicinity of 3-5 percent. Considering that over US $ 75 billion was spent on CRM-related business applications in that time period, and triple that sum on process improvement, and hundreds of books written, you might expect better.
A terrible version of Taylorism has gripped the service industry and customer service organizations, particularly in the United States. Frederick Taylor was the man who first applied science to the analysis of business workflows back in the 1880’s. It is this dissection of every item of work into a measurable unit that is, in large part, accountable for the abysmal service delivered in many industries. The relentless focus on efficiencies wrings out any natural inclination of the customer service rep to display their natural drive, passion, and desire to commit to the customer. It also leads to managers who build processes with as little “fluff” as possible. “Fluff” includes wasting time talking to or listening to the customer, noting their issues, or taking the initiative to think outside of the box.
Along comes everything “Social” to cure the malady of poor service. Let the customers uncover the bad processes, and point out the poor agents. We could just as well listen to the service representatives. After all: they hear what customers are saying, and feel their pain. It’s just that no one in management has cared to tap into the employee.
Let’s cheer that at least we are listening to the customer, whilst at the same time returning to an examination of how we might empower and reward customer service representatives to do what they could do well, if given the chance.