Oh my God! was a movie adapted from a very popular Gujarati Theatre Play. The movie is about certain institutions that may be misleading people in name of religion. The proposed antagonist in the movie made a profound statement. Approximately translated in English as People are not God Loving; they are God Fearing. Read by us as “Customer Loving” v/s “Customer Fearing”
I have met many business owners and Chief-of-Customer-Service. They lie somewhere on the Customer Service scale of Irreverent to Subservient. Both extremes are hazardous.
Lets visit the Economics of Customer Service.
- Customer Service is a cost
- The onsite warranty, visitation, free service, labour waived etc. all add to the cost. Most products and services build this in to their cost structure. An appropriate mark-up is put here. Warranties against manufacturing defects, replacement guarantees etc.
- Customer Service is source of revenue
- Car Service, repeat purchase, referrals etc. can all contribute to your business. Their base product is given at cost and the profit is made in the service. Mens Shaving Razors, Anti-rust treatment with subsequent free coats at Car Service Station etc.
Depending on the nature of your product; Customer service is either drain or boost on immediate financial numbers. In the longer run, customer service is always a WIN-WIN.
5 questions that you can ask yourself that will help you discover what kind of organization are you:
- Is your source of business dependent on a single or a dominant source? Niche, Community Customers etc.
- Does a large percentage of leads come from a source which is easily influenced by Customers? Online Resources, Review sites etc.
- Does your business involve retailing an experience or is high on customer involvement? Spa, Salon etc.
- Whether payment is before the delivery of product/ service/ experience or after? Fine Dining Restaurant (Post Payment) v/s Clothing (Pre-Payment) etc.
- Is the product, service or experience easy to criticize socially in case of failure? Shoddy Hotel room etc.
So are you Customer Fearing v/s Customer Loving organization. Let us know.