When a company discovers a potentially life-threatening or other serious defect in a product it comes under a legal obligation to conduct a recall. So a recall might be seen as a kind of mandatory customer service.
But to what lengths should a company go voluntarily in the name of serving its customers?
I believe it was Henry Ford who said something to the effect that you better take good care of your customers because they’re the ones paying your salary – whether you are in the C-suite or on the production floor. This remains sound advice.
It seems to me that today’s consumer demands more from companies – especially those selling big ticket items – before investing in them in the form of a product purchase. The ability to research and compare competing products and product makers has never been easier. And for many product types, peace of mind has become part of the value proposition. Buyers make purchase decisions based on warranty coverage. Over the past two decades the returns seen by automobile companies that expanded the scope and duration of their basic warranties attest to this.
Quality and reliability expectations will only continue to rise. And when problems arise – as they inevitably will – it’s the company’s response that determines its fate.
A recall is, perhaps, the most dramatic form of response. TSB’s and service campaigns are others. Ultimately these are, I think, elements of a company’s customer service program. To be an effective business-keeper and brand-builder a company’s customer service program must infuse, inform, and interrelate with every aspect of business operations.
So putting the customer first seems to make sense. And letting the buying public know that you do makes dollars and cents.