When it comes to the concept of brand and an inherent understanding of service, it’s without a doubt that many of the largest companies—or at least brands—come to mind. Whether the customer experience of Starbucks, the immediacy of Amazon, or the craftsmanship of BMW—all these companies include service as an integral part of their brand promise.
So, when speaking in the company of such recognizable global brands, one cannot have the conversation about the importance of service without bringing Apple—and, more importantly, Steve Jobs—into the conversation. His legacy of building customer experience is now legendary, having transformed Apple from a semi-failing company into one of the single, largest companies in the world.
Though there are numerous defining factors in Apple’s transformation over the years, its service departments and how it has become an integral part of the customer experience cannot be downplayed. After all, it’s easy to sell great products—however, regardless of the attention to detail that goes into the initial build, things will go wrong. And whether that’s due to manufacturers’ defects, user use and abuse, or whatever is the case, the important part of the equation is that the service team represents the brand when it comes to the customer experience.
It’s this approach to addressing all aspects of the customer journey that has brought Steve Jobs to the forefront as an example for service teams around the world. He truly believed that they, like any other department, should have superior tools as they pertain to systems and IT infrastructure so they can effectively manage and measure the success of their efforts.
One of my all-time favorite quotes from Steve Jobs has to be, “Customers don’t measure you on how hard you tried. They measure you on what you deliver.” That’s a strong statement that needs to be implemented as gospel for many companies—many ignoring their service teams as being a large and very real piece of the brand puzzle.
They forget that what is truly needed is better process management software for the service team—not just the sales team, or the customer support team, or the field service team, or the finance team—they all have great software. It’s the in-house service teams who lack the tools and attention they so rightfully deserve in order to do their jobs to the same capacity as the aforementioned other departments.
This fact is probably revenue versus after-sales care and the bottom line they represent—this may be so, but it’s more telling of how service teams are viewed. In fact, the Deloitte 2006 study found that “some companies invest up to 10x more in their sales people than in their service staff,” and went on to firmly state that “The service business is the overlooked jewel of many corporate portfolios, rarely receiving the attention it deserves.”
Why then, is there a challenge in representing service teams? Certainly, the C-suite say they appreciate the importance of excellent customer experience: as the OnProcess 2018 report on why the CFO cares about after-sales service states: “82% of companies surveyed say their company could realize financial benefit from improving customer satisfaction with post-sale service.” In addition, according to Forrester: “73% of companies name ‘improving customer service’ as their top priority.”
So, what’s the problem?
For most, it comes down to barrier of entry. With solutions ranging from home-grown (never an adequate solution) to enhancing the “RMA module” of the corporate monster of ERPs that can take years and too much budget to get results, there’s little left to be desired. That is, until a few years ago.
Now, with the introduction of service team automation solutions, companies now have a choice. They can avoid the pitfalls of the do-it-yourself trap, while also avoiding the “big vendor” challenges of consultants and big invoices—creating custom processes with ease, all with a much smaller price tag and a clear path to success.
Thus, in following in the footsteps of Steve Jobs, let’s all do a better job at measuring on what we deliver, and not just how hard we try, or “say” we try.
Maybe Steve knew a thing or two when he said, “Our DNA is as a consumer company—for that individual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down … our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to par, it’s our fault, plain and simple.”