Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers…

is the title of a an article in the July-August 2010 HBR.  It is full of good advice for customer service centers.  Money quote (my paraphrase): “delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing the effort they must expend to solve a problem does.”  This corresponds exactly to my experience, personal and professional,  in both the BtoB and BtoC worlds.  AMEX does it best, in my experience: you call one number and the person answering the phone quickly and effectively solves whatever problem you have.  No transfers, incompetent reps, or any other hurdles to resolution

“Delighting” customers is just another way for management to be seen as “doing something” that sounds good (and not incidentally, trendy) rather than doing what they are actually supposed to be doing.  As Mitch likes to say, “Don’t confuse activity with progress.”

Ralph

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