Customer Satisfaction

For the past 33 years, my father has worked as a service technician for a large company. In that time, he’s been tasked with fixing just about every home appliance imaginable: televisions, VCR’s (yes, the “cassette” recorder), DVD players, cameras, ovens, dishwashers, washers, dryers, microwave ovens and even the occasional garage door opener.

I’ve always been impressed by his ability to diagnose virtually any mechanical problem in short order.

In addition to his mechanical skills, my father is required to have customer service skills. As he travels from home to home each day in his truck, he is the face of his company – the front line, if you will, in his employer’s endeavor to achieve customer satisfaction.

Dozens of unique customer contacts, each week.

Seems like it would be wise for my father’s employer to make certain they have experienced, knowledgeable, fairly-paid people as service technicians.

Yet, let’s just say you wouldn’t guess my father plays this critical role by the treatment he receives. For his benefit, I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say, the company has chosen a “race to the bottom” business model.

By that, I mean they would rather hire an inexperienced, low wage worker, work him/her hard for a few years and then restart the process with another inexperienced, low wage worker. Instead of investing in workers – the very workers engaging in daily interactions with their customers – they are putting an unsustainable profit model ahead of what could be a longer term strategy to gain pretty good customer satisfaction.

The service economy is not going away, not for my father’s employer and not for thousands of employers across the country. In fact, the sector is only getting bigger.

Companies that invest in worker development, training and retention are the ones to watch in the future. Workers that feel a true sense of loyalty to their employer will make the best spokespeople, and thus help grow the businesses they work for.

Service sector businesses would do well to take this lesson to heart.

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