Stuff have an article about the declining standards of customer service, and they seem to think that it’s the employers fault.
I disagree. When customers send the clear message that they want cheaper prices, and that they value price over everything, then the inevitable result is that customer service will take a hit.
Take Pak’n’Save as an example. Sure, you get cheap prices, but you lose the wide selection that New World has, and you also lose the staff on the floor that other supermarkets have. Good luck trying to find someone to help you if you have a question.
Furthermore, they pay far less than most retailers. This is exactly because they do not have the margins to accommodate higher wages, a direct result of their customers wanting low prices.
The only way to differentiate yourself when you’re selling a commodity or a product with no perceived difference between other options, is to provide a superior customer experience (which may cover more than just customer service), and it is possible to do that with a higher price tag than your competitors – some people are prepared to pay more for a better experience.
Z Energy (formerly Shell) and the BNZ are doing some interesting things. Having forecourt attendants helping people with oil changes and other miscellaneous tasks is a great differentiator, and the BNZ have redefined bank branches as ‘stores’ with free Internet and open counters. The customer experience at these places stands out when compared to other petrol stations and banks.
So the next time you complain that the service is bad, make sure you’re not going there purely because it’s the cheapest store. You get what you pay for.