Maria Palma had an excellent post last week in which she quoted an article from the Financial Times Deutschland. The author was incredulous that companies would hire consultants to help them with customer service:
"Mr Shaw stands for a worrying trend: the use of consultants in every area of business, now including customer service consultants. This is not healthy. Surely the one thing business leaders should be able to do is understand what their customers want. What’s next? How-to-breathe consultants?"
The exception I would take with the author is his assumption that business leaders know their customers. In fact, most top managers have little understanding of what’s happening in those "moments of truth" between their company and their customers. Sidney Yoshida did some research that showed there is an "iceberg" principle that happens in corporations. The further you climb up the corporate ladder the further removed you are from the day-to-day struggles of your organization. I would argue that the ignorance extends to the struggles your customers are experiencing in dealing with your company. Top managers understand relatively little about the common customer experience compared with the front-line CSRs and supervisors who deal with customers day-in and day-out.
So how do you stay in touch with your customers expectations? How do you get in touch with what your customers are experiencing when they deal with your organization? You ask them. You do the research. You listen in through an effective QA program that gives you an objective picture of what’s happening when your customers call.
Hiring an expert in customer research and quality assessment can be more cost effective than trying to figure out how to do it yourself.