Many companies say customers are first. I believe that is probably well intended marketing speak, and probably better to say than not say it at all. My company is a service company, earning revenue from services. This inherently requires us to put customers first or I believe we would not have any customers at all. To stay in business, we are constantly seeking to improve our customer service levels. With this always being on the top of our mind, we sometimes forget to look at the outside world for benchmarks. I recently looked around a bit, and instead of relying on typical marketing research & studies of metrics, I thought I'd just create some support requests (this being a major area of focus for us) at companies which make products I own. We strive to answer all first calls with a human, and resolve access (the core service we provide) issues within the first call, or within the hour for issues that require escalation. That said, I was kind of blown away to find out that across a few products, including; a gps device, home Internet service, a telephone land line, a major social network application, a major cloud CRM application, and a major cloud email archival solution, that I could not get any humans for first contact. Further, after submitting tickets through electronic systems, I either received no feedback or I received an email saying they would get back to me in 1 to 3 days. I'm still waiting for several responses from weeks ago.
This made me realize why we got into business and remain in business. Saying customers are first is a good start, but defining & providing customer service is another challenge. Showing a consistent track record is an even bigger achievement. Overall, this quality of service (as in service delivered by humans) is quite often the difference which enables a buyer's resources (the highest cost of doing business) to stay focused on core business. The people that do this are in turn the highest cost of a service providers business.
Keep this same or higher quality (SOHQ)/same or lower cost (SOLC) ratio related to your own resource costs & core focus in mind when looking at Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) & Return on Investment (ROI).
Published from 35,000 feet on an IPad.