Where does Customer Service begin ?

I once interviewed at a global consumer goods company, and though things did not work out between us, the experience that I gained by interviewing with some of the finest technologists and program managers – was priceless.

One of the conversations I had with a Senior Development Manager at this company, is worth sharing. He began by asking me – what is Customer Service to you ? I was not very prepared for this question. So I bounced it around by saying, when a customer is displeased and contacts the company with their complaint , the experience that we offer the customer in that situation – is an element of Customer Service.

The manager smiled, he told me his interpretation of the term Customer Service. I do not remember it verbatim, but the crux of his narrative was –

“A customer should never need to hit that “contact customer service” button on the site. Their experience on the website should be so seamless and flawless that they never have to contact customer service. If we can provide that experience – a no hassle experience, to the customer, from the moment they step into our website – That I think is true customer service. Serve the customer, before he expects you too. “

I was sold. To add to the implementation piece of this concept , QA – both technical and functional needs to have a BIG role in product roll outs and maintenance. User Interaction studies and research should feed product designs from the point of ideation to user acceptance testing. And more importantly – let us not assume that Customer Service is a department within a company. It is a process, that lives in our product and is addressed in every line of code that gets into production.

Just some random thoughts on Customer Service on a Monday morning.

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