I really don’t understand why service at nearly every business is getting worse. In an economic slow-down, market share is gained by providing great service.

Oddly, the decline in service has nothing to do with cutting cost—or cutting costs should not affect service. It’s cheap to be efficient and answer questions. It’s cheap to help people place orders!

Case 1: Google. I have an Ad Words account which I use to manage advertising for some of my clients. If I’m spending $4,000+ per month with Google, why is there no one for me to call when I have a billing problem? I can only chat ‘live’ via keyboard to someone behind the walls at Google who can’t answer the question—no matter what the question is—but will get back to me within 24 hours—they need 24 hours to answer a billing question? Their answer will not give me the details I need and it will arrive by email making it impossible to dialogue with anyone at Google.

Hey Yahoo!  Are you paying attention? Do you want market share? It’s EASY! Answer your phone.

Case 2: UPS. I’m trying to find 2 boxes I was supposed to get yesterday. I called UPS this morning. Where are my boxes?  Here’s Big Brown’s answer: “I don’t see them so they must be on the truck.” Sure beats using that whiz bang tracking system they have over at Big Brown. If he can’t see it, it must be on the truck. Really? Maybe the guy in the picture is looking for my boxes—and maybe he’ll find my billing answer from Google while he’s in there.

Giving poor service is stupid and inexcusable. So while you big Bozos analize (not a typo) your supply chains and work your ‘Lean’ programs and chase your 6th Sigma and chart your metrics and evaluate your strategic options, think about improving your service. It’s cheaper than all the silly MBA jargon programs and guess what? Improving your service WILL improve your bottom line. Unlike the rest of that nonsense.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
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