The $300,000 cost of apathy

The other day I was driving home (my commute is almost over an hour each way) and was musing about customer service. I’m not quite sure why, but I was. What struck me was that many companies view customer service as a cost of doing business — not a way to increase business; not a way to drive references; not a way to drive repeat purchases but simply as a “cost”.   This, however, is a well knowapathyn statement – it has been this way for years and will, likely, be this way for years to come.  It is only those “stellar few” that have transformed their customer service, client care, support, order management etc organizations into one that transcends the simple “How can I help you as fast as humanly possible”? The fact is…this is solely driven due to apathy and lack of vision.

I’m sure the question is – does he have a point?

The answer is yes.  My point is that if companies changed their perspective to what Mike Faith, CEO of Headset.com, calls an “extreme customer love philosophy.” (help.com blog, 11/23/2014) or Zappos calls “Deliver WOW through Service” (Zappos.com), I believe that companies would be more profitable for their shareholders and owners while, simultaneously, delivering a more enjoyable and satisfying atmosphere for their employees.  Headsets.com turnover is 15% or less in a typical industry with turnover greater than 50% (CNN.com). Zappos is at 40% or less (including promotions) in 2008, when average turnover industry wide was over 150% (Inc.com).

The cost of turnover for a good contact center agent (which are the ones that will leave because they truly want to drive a happy customer) is 20% of an individuals annual salary for individuals earning less than $50k a year (CBSNews.com).  Assuming that your contact center is of decent size (100 people), that you have a 50% turnover (50 people) and that your average wage is $30,000, you’ve just lost $300,000 because your contact center is mediocre, refuses to invest in their employees and feels that “bare minimum” is good enough.

I guess I’d rather spend that $300,000 somewhere else.

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