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Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter

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Customers - service versus processing

Mary Schmidt

Oct 13, 2005

It’s bill paying time again (why does this seem to happen every week?) which gets me to thinking about the differences between customer service and customer processing.  On my city water bill, they explicitly state “do not include any correspondence.”  Nah, wouldn’t want to make it easy for a customer to communicate regarding a dispute or suggestion, now would we?  And, don’t we all love those emails thanking us for our online order or payment and telling us to not reply, our email won’t be read?  To add insult to - well - insult, they also don’t tell you what to do if there’s a problem. (Comcast, here’s looking at you.  Wish you loved me as much as you love my money.) 

I once called the city because I had included a note on a payment (I missed the fine print re not including anything other than my payment.)  I was told, “Oh, we never read anything, we just throw it away.” Hmm…I can understand - for the sake of efficiency - limiting the amount of steps and activities in payment processing.  But, the city should also have a process where notes and enclosures are automatically forwarded to another group for action.  That would be service

Isn’t it amazing how super effective and efficient companies (and governments) are at taking our money - online and any other way they can get it - but when it comes to us needing help, it’s “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” 

So, if you’ve got a “service process”- make sure it’s not a contradiction in terms.  The process should serve the people (both your employees and the customers) - not the other way around.

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

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Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

Do we process our customers or service our customers?? Mary Schmidt, a business development consultant, recently blogged about an experience she had with a utility company. She pointed out how efficient they were in processing her payments on her water

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