“Here’s a customer service example from Apple.”
“Here’s a customer service example from Starbucks.”
“Here’s a customer service example from Southwest Airlines.”
“Here’s a customer service example from The Four Seasons.”
“Here’s a customer service example from Zappos.”
…Sound familiar? The default, it seems, for customer service authors and consultants and speakers (I’m as culpable here as anyone) is to derive our shining examples from B2C (business to consumer) superstars, and to pull our cautionary anecdotes from B2C transgressors as well. You’re likely to hear colorful examples derived from: Retail customer service. Hospitality customer service. Restaurant customer service and other foodservice customer service situations.
There’s a logic behind this: B2C household brands are indeed rich sources of vivid anecdotes that are easy to relate to.
But here’s what’s often missing: Examples from manufacturing customer service. From construction customer service. Building trades subs customer service. Fabricator customer service. Plumbing supply customer service. Automotive supply customer service. Information Services and tech support customer service. You get the idea…
Even though the examples may not be as sexy or invoke household names, the quality of business to business (B2B) customer service is of extreme importance, and should never be considered secondary or subordinate. The effect that customer service has in B2C is actually magnified in B2B. Why?
• In B2B, the individual sale is often bigger.
• In B2B, the per-relationship value is almost always larger.
• Most of all, in B2B, customer service invokes a multiplier effect, for better or for worse.
Consider a supplier, a manufacturer, a vendor, operating at the wholesale level. The costs of poor service — failure to understand, support, and go the extra mile, wherever and whenever needed — can be so much more damaging, due to this cascading effect. If a subcontractor fails to support its customer, catastrophe can result for the end user, who is purchasing something far more expensive and publicly visible than what the subcontractor at the beginning of the process provided, or failed to provide.
In the B2B environment, we are each a part of the puzzle, a single puzzle piece. But a puzzle that is missing a single piece is an unsightly, unsalable puzzle. And all those other puzzle pieces, and the end buyer of the puzzle, are counting on us.
Micah Solomon, author of “High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service“, is the business keynote speaker, author, and customer service consultant termed by the Financial Post ”a new guru of customer service excellence.” Solomon offers speaking and consulting on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture — and how they fit into today’s marketing and technology landscape. An entrepreneur and business leader, he previously coauthored the bestselling “Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit“.
See Micah in action — including video and free resources — at http://www.micahsolomon.com. Or, click here for your own free chapter of Micah’s new book, High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service (AMACOM Books) and Micah’s #1 bestseller, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization———————————————————–
© 2013 Micah Solomon. Portions of this post may also have appeared in Micah’s previously published work.