Organizations today are
undergoing massive changes. Changes which include reorganizations, re-engineering,
downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, software and hardware changes, new management
. . . and the list could go on and on. We are living in an age of incredible
change and instability.
This rapidly changing workplace
demands a new level of adaptability on the part of it's workers. Old ways of
doing things do not work in this changing world. Consider the simple yet profound
impact that E-commerce has on business today -- it took the radio 38 years before
it reached the "critical mass" of 50 million users. The computer took 16 years
to reach 50 million users and the television took 13 years to reach critical
mass. The Internet? It has taken 4 years for the Internet to reach 50 million
users. If your business is trying to stand still, you will inevitably be overcome
by your competition.
Gartner Research finds
that E-commerce (EC) is significantly impacting industry restructuring. In the
logistics, consumer product manufacturing, transportation, government services,
and automotive industries EC will impact marketing, selling, and customer service.
In home services, telecom, health care, retail grocery, book selling, office
supplies, cards and gifts, retail dry goods, and recreation and leisure industries,
EC will impact the structure of product offerings and how the services/products
will be delivered. In the entertainment, banking, travel, advertising, electric
utilities, publishing, gaming, and stock trading industries, Gartner predicts
that EC will restructure the entire industry.
With change, often comes
internal chaos and resistance. As a result, the customer may experience confusion
and disruption in service and/or product delivery. The Customer Focus
is on "How will this change(s) affect me? WIIFM (What's in it for me?)" and
"Why are they making these changes?" The customer's Overriding Concern
is "Will this simplify or complicate my life?" They will make decisions based
on how well your organization answers these questions.
Following are some Customer
Service Strategies to keep your customer coming back. It is important
to recognize that customer satisfaction is NOT enough in today's competitive
market. We need to create customer loyalty. When you are going through change,
(1) Help your customers understand the "why" behind the changes. Be clear as
to "What's in it for me?" for the customer. Share the benefits to the customer
as to why you are making the changes.
(2) Make sure you are coordinating
and collaborating with other department within your company. Be wary of overlaps
and the potential competition that may develop between departments due to the
organizational changes. It is very frustrating when two or more different departments
all call the customer. The customer very quickly concludes that you really don't
know what you are doing.
(3) Obtain customer feedback
on the change(s). Consider conducting focus groups or surveys of customers to
gain their input on potential changes. Invite your key customers to be part
of the change process. Ask your customers, "How can we better serve your needs
as our customer?" If you ask for feedback, listen and be willing to consider
the customer's input. (4) Be proactive in your communication but recognize that
many customers don't read your marketing literature. Therefore, increase the
various types of external communications you develop. Use newsletters, advertisements,
and your website to inform of change.
How are you broadening your
customers' understanding and perspective about your change(s)? Customers don't
want to switch to another service/product provider unless they must. Make it
easy for your customer to do business with you. Be the best in providing a system
of procedures and policies and way of doing business that was designed with
the customer in mind AND be the very best at providing a style of personal delivery
that your competitors cannot match. Capture the heart of your customer by being
clear as to how your changes benefit them and you can capture their loyalty.