How businesses shoot themselves in the foot

Why Businesses Shoot Themselves in the Foot

There is the classic scenario where a customer brings in a faulty device just a day out of warrantee. Or a clearly worn item is being returned for a refund. Both of these cases usually result in the person in the role of Customer Service failing to live up to the title of the position. 

There is a double “Why?” that must be asked. 

Why do businesses turn an adaptive behavior into a self-destructive one?

Why was Customer Service put in place in the first instance. And why in these the two outlined scenarios and countless others like them, it fails to live up to its promise?

Here’s what’s really at work: Customer Service is an adaptive response. A business that deals with many customers and also has competitors wants to somehow show it cares. The Customer Service department is the business’ promise that its customers will be cared for. More than that a truly savvy business will make sure that its customers receive a far better service than any competitor can offer. That also becomes the premise of a business’ unique selling proposition (USP). What differentiates it from all other similar businesses out there.

So what goes wrong? Why, given an opportunity to perform in a way that shows they care for their customers most businesses fail to do so?

The reason an adaptive response becomes self-destructive is because the measure used to assess its success is subverted into the profit/loss bottom-line approach of the organization as a whole. At that point the fact that what profits the organization doesn’t necessarily profit the customer is missed entirely. 

Also missed are the points that Customer Service is not designed to make a profit. It is designed to strengthen a relationship with a customer at the point where the relationship is about to weaken or break. 

Without loyal customers, customer acquisition becomes a lossy business that does impact the bottom line. This is a line of reasoning every business gets. So why is it so hard to get the real role of Customer Service?   


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