The Customer Service Conundrum

Let’s face it—many departments do NOT want to manage customer service. I see the Customer Service Shuffle take place in media companies often, especially when people change roles.   In a company where 1 or 2 people are tasked with handling customer service, there are debates about where it should be managed—marketing, editorial, general intern, front desk, audience development.

There are some truly talented front line customer service representatives (CSRs). They thrive on helping people, resolving problems all day. But for people who do this work as just part of their job, the tasks of reviewing and forwarding these emails and calls can remain unanswered for days, while that person does other “more important” work.

And what a mistake this can be. If there is a general customer service inbox (phone or email), these requests can be urgent. For a media company, it can be a simple address change or missing issues, or it can be someone who wants to purchase a large number of back issues, have an editorial question, wants to place advertising or host a webinar, alerts you to a technical problem with a website or specific email effort.

As our attention spans become fragmented and we demand immediate response, what does it say when it takes a week or more to respond to a simple request? Simple: we don’t care about our customers. They will get their information next time from another site, another vendor. Not responding to customer service inquiries can lose a company customers.

CSR’s are often the face-of-the-company to new and regular customers seeking advice. CSR’s should be good listeners, problem solvers, multi-taskers, well-spoken and have decent writing skills. When they respond to e-mails, an instant viral message can be one filled with misspellings or incorrect information.

CSR work is also a great way for people new to a company to better understand the products that a company offers, learn where contact deficiencies might be on a website, interact with people in other departments.

Think about the Customer Service Representative role in a different light in your organization. They solve your customer problems all day long.

The Journey continues.

C

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