The economy is getting better, at least a little bit. I don’t mean to say we’re out of the woods or that our economy is booming again, but signs are pointing to things going in the right direction. Unemployment is down to 8.3%, companies are reporting record profits, and even the housing market is showing signs of life.
So let’s say this continues and our economy comes back with a vengeance, will companies providing amazing customer service continue to do so?
During the economic downturn, companies were having trouble generating sales. Many, who weren’t already operating in this fashion, started focusing on their existing customers by offering above-and-beyond customer service to retain then. At the same time, under the assumpiton that consumers would rather fix than buy in the down economy, companies turned to existing customers as the main way to generate new revenue through service.
The overall effect was a far greater focus on service — both to keep customers, and to substitute lost sales revenue.
As we start to emerge from our economic woes, will companies keep this up? In short, yes. This shift was not a temporary way to generate new revenue until sales came back. Companies were forced to take a hard, analytical look at service, and many realized its ability to generate revenue, not just drain it. Not to mention the effects on brand image, loyalty, employee morale, etc.
How do we know? For one, ServiceMax saw some amazing growth, but if we look at a larger company serving a broader customer base, Salesforce.com, and analyze their evolution over the past few years, it becomes dead obvious.
The company started with salesforce automation and more recently is pushing customer service, especially via social channels, as the future of the company. Service Cloud alone contributed more than $100 million to the company’s fourth quarter revenue this year.
And it’s the smartest companies making the move — the ones that adopted cloud technology before many of their competitors and are now leading the way in customer service.
Companies’ dedication to customer service is here to stay, but the ones that haven’t jumped on board may not be.