Readers respond to “Customer Service” post

reading child

In response to a recent post, “’Customer Service’ better be more than a department name,” readers offer thoughtful observations and insights.

A technical training and application specialist from Canada reminds us that, “[t]alk is cheap, actions speak.” He says that companies owe it to themselves and their customers to “do the right thing.” The reader concludes that actions – not advertising dollars – generate customer goodwill and loyalty; they must be earned, because they cannot be bought.

A business owner from the UK with a diverse background including sales and marketing, health and safety, project management, and photography views the post as suggesting a three-tiered inquiry:

(1) What is a manufacturer’s legal duty where it discovers a potentially hazardous product defect?
(2) What are the customers’ expectations in the context of a product recall?
(3) In the context of a recall, how does a manufacturer balance its legal duty with customer expectations that exceed the duty?

He explains that each of these questions brings with its own set of unique considerations, and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

He admonishes that manufacturers know and understand their product, and the applications to which real-world customers put it, when developing recall policy. Manufacturers cannot simply rest their decision-making on a product’s intended function. He also warns large companies to guard against undue delay resulting from internal procedural complexities.

Likewise, a manufacturer cannot ignore recall-related customer expectations, particularly because with certain types of products in certain types of industries, they may set the bar for the manufacturer much higher that do the applicable laws and regulations. This, too, requires genuine self-knowledge and -awareness on the manufacturer’s part. Thus armed, a manufacturer may set priorities and perform and meaningful risk-benefit analysis in devising recall policy.

It seems to me, that the readers’ comments hone on the basics: it’s good business to do the right thing, know yourself and your customers, and put the customer first. Simple to say, challenging to do.

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Filed under Best Practices, Customer Experience, Warranty

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