Great Customer Service Starts with Great CSRs
In today’s highly competitive catalog arena, service has become a make-or-break proposition for many companies—not a nicety.
To stay in the game, it’s imperative that catalogers provide real service to their customers, not just lip service. “Service should benefit the customer, not just be a marketing tactic for the company,” says telemarketing consultant Liz Kislik, of Liz Kislik Associates.
“Failing to meet this need by providing inadequately trained and/or non-service oriented [customer service] reps will guarantee failure,” adds Frank Fuhrman, director of sales, customer contact services, for DialAmerica Marketing, a telemarketing firm in Mahwah, NJ. The firm works with catalogers in the giftware, accessories and clothing markets. He notes that by providing appropriately trained reps who are focused on exceeding customer needs, catalogers can ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Two service-oriented trends Kislik sees impacting the industry right now: More catalogers trying what she calls a “service-y sell” on the phone, and catalogers tying their call centers to their Web sites to provide another avenue for serving customers.
A Case Study in Service: Lands’ End
At Lands’ End, the Dodgeville, WI-based catalog well known for its customer service, Jean Ballweg, Internet business analyst, says, “Customer service is our highest priority and always has been since I’ve been here.”
Ballweg, an 11-year veteran of the company who used to work in the telemarketing area, says that the company still operates under the customer service philosophy originally adopted by founder and chairman Gary Comer and preserved in Lands’ End’s Eight Principles of Doing Business.
The Eight Principles are posted in the call center and throughout the facilities, as well as on the Web site. Ballweg calls special attention to principle five, which states, “We believe that what is best for our customer is best for all of us.”