3 reasons why National Customer Service Week is rubbish

It’s National Customer Service Week! Celebrate!

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Here at ThinkPurpose we love customers so we’d like to tell you about a fantastic event dedicated to improving service for the customer.

Set up by the Institute [fancy!] of Customer Service to….

raise awareness of customer service and the vital role it plays in successful business practice and the growth of the UK economy.

And who could argue with that ?
Me.

Here are 3 reasons why it’s rubbish

1: It’s a gimmick

wpid-img_20141006_192504.jpgWhat happens before it? In the week afterwards? Why not all the time?

Why a week at all? It’s a jamboree of gimmicks. There are characters like Captain Keyple, on the left…

WHAT’S WRONG WITH A BIT OF FUN?

I’ve seen fun as a replacement for doing good work, as it’s easier.

Easier to dig into the dressing up box and have Pirate Day.

Easier to get an unemployed drama student to wear Captain Keyple’s foam costume.

There are people wearing sashes

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Did they wear the sash home on the bus?

Standing round a bit uncomfortably but there ARE balloons as well to jolly along the customer service excellence.

2: It’s not about customer service

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Some arcane part of the convoluted USA healthcare system is joining in too.

HANG ON here is a chance to see it demonstrating excellent customer service in action….

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Time for some excellent customer service methinks…

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Exemplary listening and knowledgeable. And utterly irrelevant to the customers needs. What matters is her family keep their family doctors. The system should be designed to deliver what matters to the customer. The WHOLE organisations purpose should be customer service. But here Customer service is reduced to mean the thin layer of call centres that surrounds and protects organisations from their customer, mopping up and being polite.

What other purpose would the other parts of an organisation have if not customer service? Who ARE they serving? It is a perfect example of not taking a systems approach. If there is one part of the organisation whose job it is to “service” the customer, then presumably this is NOT the purpose of the other parts. In the example above of the healthcare provider, one part of the organisation is failing the customers by changing their family doctors, it doesn’t matter HOW good customer services are, they cannot help.

There is a dead giveaway on the Institute [fancy!] of Customer Service’s website

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These two questions are the wrong way round.

Ask instead…

  • How do you measure the impact of your business performance on customer service?
  • To what extent do leaders in your organisation understand the impact of business performance on customer service?

The purpose of an organisation with customers is customer service, not “business performance”. That’s just a way of keeping score and continuing to have and serve customers.

3: It’s sloppy and muddled thinking

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All the customer service consultants are crawling out the woodwork with their shiny smiles and sloppy thinking.

How about this from the guy with the teeth above…

Start making a plan for daily – yes, daily – reinforcement of your customer service standards.”
“Commit to empowering your employees. Employee empowerment, or autonomy, is important stuff.”
Important stuff! And here is from the lady pictured above rolling a bogey between her fingers…

Customer experience superstars celebrate what they contribute to the customer’s success. They take extra care and pride in doing it.
Be customer experience superstars. Shine through the customers’ achievements. Be instruments to their success. Get set and be ready for mission possible!”

This is typical of the bilge I’m seeing flow through twitter at the moment.

It is almost as if these people have no knowledge of the root cause of performance, the system, which is shaped by the thinking of people in charge. In fact, it IS it.

This is the reason why I retch, the unadulterated idiocy of organisations who’d rather wear a sash and wave a balloon than work on improving the system. Y’know, for the customers.

 

 

 

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This entry was posted in customer, plausible but untrue, systems thinking, vanguard method and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 3 reasons why National Customer Service Week is rubbish

  1. MOST people have no knowledge of the root cause of performance. I find it vexing, especially when said people profess to be “experts”.

    – Bob

    Like

  2. Maz Iqbal says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Why? I no longer feel alone and am not questioning my sanity. It shows up for me as bilge too.

    Like

  3. fjfish says:

    I always wonder if people doing this have so little self awareness they don’t realise how foolish they look. It’s like an episode of “The Office”. I remember Scott Adams (Dilbert) commenting that when he was talking to the CEO of where he worked the guy saw all the *other* people in the management team and not himself in the Dilbert cartoons.

    I’ve also had problems with “Customer-focussed teams/projects/…” – I mean, what the hell else should you focus on? The people who buy your goods or services and therefore pay your living or … whom?

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