The 10 Causal Reasons Why So Much Customer Service Is Poorly Delivered

Looking after your customers would seem to be the most obvious thing to be focusing on in these difficult business times, so why are service levels still so variable and the customer experience generally so unimpressive?

  1. Nobody at board level is responsible for service performance, why? Because everybody is responsible. This means accountability is fragmented and responsibilities indistinct.
  2. Service is not contained within the strategic focus of the organisation.
  3. There is no service design, no working definition of service in the organisation, few metrics for service performance and little understanding of cause and effect.
  4. At best service, is measured with a one-dimensional customer feedback instrument. At worst, by the number of complaints received, or in a significant minority, not at all.
  5. There is little understanding of the relationship between the intangible aspects of service delivery (the personal interaction stuff, how a customer feels etc.) and the intangible requirements, the service infrastructure. For example, how a call centre operator makes the customer feel (intangible) and the quality of the organisation’s telephony systems (tangible).
  6. Poor integration of technology with the customer experience. See article Integrating People With Technology To Drive.
  7. Front-line staff are measured on operational performance issues not service delivery: the number of transactions in an hour, the amount of sales made etc. rather the quality of experience delivered. This is because operational things are easier to measure and have a short-time impact on the bottom line.
  8. Front-line staff are inadequately trained in service delivery. ‘Smile training’ doesn’t work. See article Developing The Best Kind of Customer Service People.
  9. There is a large cultural credibility gap between the rhetoric of service and the reality of delivery. This makes the front-line cynical, especially when they see posters exhorting them to ‘go the extra mile’ going up around the business when service levels have recently been cut through redundancy programmes.
  10. Management don’t really get it.