Customer Support Management Essay

Question:

Write a Short Experiential piece on Customer Support.

Answer:

Name and type of the organization

Some time back I had an awful experience at XYZ boutique. The boutique is one of Australia’s leading fashion stores dealing with the latest dresses, shoes, tops, and much more.

Communication method

The communication method used by the sales assistant was unfriendly. The sales assistant lacked interpersonal skills and solid communication. Her body language also communicated to me that she was not willing to help. She looked bored and uninterested. She should have been more confident and cheerful.

The problem

It is often expected that people need to browse or window shop prior to making any purchase decision. In fact, most business owners see this as recommendable and acceptable (Rawson, Duncan & Jones, 2013). After all, the purchase journey is a long process which requires the buyers to gather the relevant inspiration and data before spending their hard-earned cash. Consequently, that is why shops exist, to showcase services and products to the customers and increase profits in the long run (Zhao, Lu, Zhang & Chau, 2012). However, a staff member at XYZ boutique had a different opinion on this subject. In fact, I was offered a not quite apologetic response upon raising a complaint.

This is how the scenario unfolded; I was searching for a classic and fashionable outfit for an upcoming event. Given the importance of the event, my dressing had to be on point. Therefore, I decided to take a look at what XYZ had to offer since a friend had previously recommended the store. Initially, the staff was friendly and willing to offer assistance. However, after some time, the sales assistant became pushy and hesitant to answer my questions. She came to a conclusion that I was not there to buy. This is not what I expected from a world class brand with over 170 outlets globally. For a moment, I thought this was a prank that I would occasionally expect to get from siblings and friends, but not from a sales assistant.


The fact that the sales assistant was wrong is not debatable. I had every intention of purchasing the outfit but immediately left the boutique after the awful treatment. After a few days, I launched a complaint to the head office via email. In the real sense, many would guess that I got an apology from the XYZ boutique management. However, this was not the case. The response email indicated that the shop targets straight to the point customers and the assistants at the boutique are the best at what they do. Additionally, the response indicated that I was indeed an idler who had no intention of purchasing and suggested that there are other shops that would appease my taste.

In the United States alone, poor customer support costs 84 billion annually (Kumar, Umashankar, Kim, & Bhagwat, 2014). On the other side, good customer service is competency, personalization, convenience, and responsiveness. This was not the case at XYZ boutique. The sales assistant was quick to judge, incompetent, and unresponsive. Statistics show that 90% of customers are willing to pay more in order to get the desired customer service (Kumar et al, 2014). Moreover, 70% of customers would be willing to purchase more if their complaints are solved (Kumar et al, 2014). It is evident that the XYZ boutique management did not handle their customers appropriately and was unwilling to resolve complaints. Their response clearly indicated that I was just an ‘idler’ in their shop with no purchase motive.

Proposal for resolution

The case was not resolved. It was wrong for the sales assistant to read my mind, regardless of how ‘good’ she may be. Some of the qualities of a good sales assistant include patience and respect (Ryu, Lee & Gon Kim, 2012). This being said, the sales assistants should be patient with their customers and respect them at the same time. The sales assistant should have let me make my purchase decision at my own pace. The response given by the manager after I launched the complaint indicated that the XYZ boutique management had no respect for its customers. It was wrong for the manager to condone the attacks made by his staff.

Evidently, the store manager did not understand my point of view. It was not his job to judge my motive or willingness to purchase. He should have read the complaint keenly and identify a way to resolve the issue. Also, the employees may not have been well trained. The boutique should put some of its resources for reinforcement and training. The training should put more emphasis on the importance of being patient and respecting customers (Lemon & Verhoef, 2016). Sales assistants can be effective in their jobs if they are equipped with the appropriate tools and objectives. The management should be keener on the type of personality they employ in their businesses. Business success cannot be achieved with self-centered and apathetic employees. The wrong employees should be sent packing immediately; it sends a warning message to other reckless employees (Martin, Mortimer & Andrews, 2015). This is how the manager should have handled the situation. Condoning reckless employees only leads to more losses and eventual business failure.

References

Rawson, A., Duncan, E., & Jones, C. (2013). The truth about customer experience. Harvard Business Review, 91(9), 90-98.

Ryu, K., Lee, H. R., & Gon Kim, W. (2012). The influence of the quality of the physical environment, food, and service on restaurant image, customer perceived value, customer satisfaction, and behavioral intentions. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 24(2), 200-223.

Zhao, L., Lu, Y., Zhang, L., & Chau, P. Y. (2012). Assessing the effects of service quality and justice on customer satisfaction and the continuance intention of mobile value-added services: An empirical test of a multidimensional model. Decision support systems, 52(3), 645-656.

Kumar, V., Umashankar, N., Kim, K. H., & Bhagwat, Y. (2014). Assessing the influence of economic and customer experience factors on service purchase behaviors. Marketing Science, 33(5), 673-692.

Lemon, K. N., & Verhoef, P. C. (2016, November). Understanding customer experience throughout the customer journey. American Marketing Association.

Martin, J., Mortimer, G., & Andrews, L. (2015). Re-examining online customer experience to include purchase frequency and perceived risk. Journal of retailing and consumer services, 25, 81-95.

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