2015: ​The year of the customer

Good riddance 2014 and hello 2015.

A new year, new beginnings, an opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals for the next one, and in the case of this year—the year horrible customer service finally dies.

I truly believe as customers the worst is behind us. We have survived the peak (or perhaps more fittingly the trough) of poor customer service, and we are winning the war.Sales_YearofCustomer_Blog

We definitely lost a few battles along the way in 2014—notably the infamous Comcast call from hell (read more about learning from Comcast’s mistakes last year) and the announcement of two mega mergers which have the possibility to consolidate and amplify the already poor service of the worst offenders (Comcast + Time Warner Cable and AT&T + DirecTV).

RELATED: See the Hall of Shame of 2014’s worst customer service moments and how to avoid them this year.

Seriously, this year will mark the beginning of a new consumer-focused era. An era pushed into warp speed by revolutionary customer-centric technology and customer-obsessed cultures that together can rapidly improve the level of customer service we receive each day. 

This year is our year, the beginning of our reign. The year (and era) of the customer is at hand, because we have the power to demand it.

To help you make the most of this year and position your business for the future,  the Zoho Support team is committing to helping your organization, regardless of your industry or size, become more customer-centric and improve your customer service.  Each month we'll dive deep into the world of customer service, exploring the topics that affect you team every day and providing practical resources to help you deliver more happiness to your customers.

By delivering relevant, thoughtful resources to you, the people entrusted to serve customers, we are striving to play our part in ensuring 2015 really is the year of the customer.

This month we are looking to and learning from the most loved brands in the world and the shared secret that drives them to customer service greatness

And no, it isn’t a gadget or gizmo being announced this week at CES or something Santa can bring you next year.

The foundation of exceptional customer service is always a company-wide culture committed to customers.

By digging into the exceptional cultures that have built beloved brands and simultaneously guiding you to examine your company’s culture we’ll begin the year with practical steps and wisdom for building a more customer-centric culture. A culture perfectly positioned to thrive in the customer-driven era.

Business owners and managers take note.  It is important you realize the gravity of the tectonic shift that is under way and adjust your view of customer service appropriately—and sooner rather than later.

This month, we'll discover the incredible value of questioning the conventional wisdom surrounding customer service. A prevalent view that regrettably views customers like a rabid lion on the prowl, hungry to rip some poor company into pieces.  And instead of delivering customers amazing service the frightened pack mentality focuses on eking out just enough not to get eaten.

 “I don’t have to be faster than the lion, I only have to be faster than you other schlubs. 

Consequently, the goal post for successful customer service has moved dramatically—anything but worst, is best. This prevalent, but lazy, thinking is driving a frantic race to the middle, eliminating outright-awful customer service experiences. Leaving customers slightly better results overall but less exceptional brands.

As every aspect of business becomes an increasingly more customer-centric exercise, there has never been a better time than 2015 to separate your business from the shortsighted pack by committing to becoming a customer-obsessed organization.

Quit fighting your customers and learn from the best brands in the world how delighting customers can build lasting, valuable relationships where everyone involved wins.

I have a feeling this is going to be a really, really good year.


1 Replies to 2015: ​The year of the customer

  1. Business must think of customers like this 'if it wasn't for the customer, we would have no business'. Too many businesses (especially the big ones) seem to treat customers like 'you're only one person. I have plenty of other customers'. Sure, no business should allow any customer to 'take the mick' out of their good will but the business needs to have that good will in place in the first place. And there is no point just stating that you have it or will do all you can to make the customer happy. It's the practice that makes all the difference. As an example, my partner called Virgin media about charges on our phone bill that we believe should not be there, and instead of the customer service agent trying to help us feel valued, she put the phone down on! Now normally, if you then try and contact the company to complain about your first complaint not being resolved (and now you also have another issue to complain about), it nearly always ends up in far too much stress and you never get anywhere. What would I do if I was the operator at Virgin media? Well, after 'listening', I would take a look at the account and try to see what is going on. If for example, the charges that I had been charged were meant to be there, I would ask the caller the question 'why do you think you are not meant to be charged?'. And if the charges should not have been on the bill... Either way, I would resolve the issue with the caller whether it was there error or the companies. I would do this by giving some credit or applying a discount amount to the callers account and I would THANK them for raising the issue. And if needed, I would then investigate whether the service or terms needed to be more clear to try and best avoid any more unhappy customers. The virgin Media agent dealt with my partners call by putting the phone down. Once our contract ends we leave Virgin Media. I do not run my business like this. I do my best to ensure each and every customer is happy and if not, I find out why so that I can improve what I am offering. To me, this is simple business sense. I've read many times that Richard Branson wants happy customers and briefs his staff to do their best to resolve issues. True or not? I wonder if Virgin has got to big just like the rest of the lousy big businesses out there who no longer care about the individual customer!

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