The Big Lie: Customers Want Service
By Garrison Wynn
don’t want service! Customers want things that don’t need any
service. They want maintenance-free, self-contained solutions,
On average, how do you think
most people would rate service after the sale over the course of
their lives? Do you really think they are looking for more of that?
They want cars that don’t break down, systems that need no tweaking;
and they may resent the time required to service their product,
preferring instead to spend time making money, forwarding their
cause or living life.
We tend to believe our customers want
great service because we have solutions that require maintenance. In
other words, we put customers in a position to need service. To be
motivated, we need to believe that we have exactly what the customer
wants. The truth is that the customer wants a permanent solution,
and either we don’t want to provide it (for various reasons) or no
permanent solution exists. If we have to provide service to
customers who are not terribly thrilled about needing it, that
service had better be fantastic. It’s like insisting that someone
who doesn’t particularly care for hot dogs must eat one. You’d
better serve one damn good hot dog or you’re in big trouble.
service can be worse than no service in some cases.
If we can solve customers’
problems before they know they have any, they will feel much better
about their purchase but we will lose the opportunity to generate
additional revenue and good will through all that customer service.
We have to decide which has more value to the customer and to us.
Offering training, spare parts or an
organized, pre-set service program as part of the purchase price (or
as a higher-priced add-on) may give you greater customer
satisfaction and allow you to
Offer less service after the sale but
give better results to the customer
Get more deeply involved with
customers at the point of sale and uncover more opportunities to
help them succeed at a faster rate
Help customers in a way that allows
them to learn how to help themselves, proving that your
solutions have more long-term value than those of your
competitors and are worth the higher price tag.
I realize that this view may not be for
everyone; after all, one man’s business-growing customer service is
another man’s expensive pain in the butt. But it’s important to find
ways to help the customer while at the same time making sure we can
stay in business long enough to actually provide that help.
Organizations that are not profitable usually give poor service
whether the customer wants it or not.
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