While customer service is key to improving a company's image and retaining business, if customer service tools and systems are not correctly and efficiently implemented, they can ultimately result in unwanted results for both your customers and your company's bottom line.
Customer service standards can be expensive to put into effect--especially considering that service-based industries often experience high turnover, necessitating ongoing training initiatives. Time spent creating lists of standards and training staff equates to time away from those job functions that contribute to the bottom line. The alternative of hiring an external consulting company to assess and implement a customer service program is an added expense.
Essentially, if the use of customer service tools does not significantly expand your company's customer base or increase the number of repeat customers, it might well be perceived as an unjustifiable expense.
While customer service agents are trained to respond to customer questions, most are not delegated the authority to make billing adjustments or issue refunds without approval from a superior. This can result in a customer having to tolerate wending through multiple levels of customer service and management personnel to resolve a single problem. While the customer service employees are hired to provide efficient service to the customer, their lack of authority to complete certain actions can result in resolution delays, leading to a frustrating experience for the consumer.
Outsourced customer service personnel can be the answer to some customer service cost concerns; however, this option sometimes comes with disadvantages of its own.
In many instances, the customer service function is outsourced to overseas locations, which translates to the loss of customer service jobs on home soil. Additionally, when customer service is outsourced to overseas locations, language barriers and lack of complete understanding of the company purpose can create frustration for customers, leading to complaints for the company. Distance can also result in a loss of control with regard to training, resulting in substandard service quality.