The hardest part about customer service.

A majority of this week has been dedicated to the interview with Dick Hunter of Dell. The interview (which I highly suggest reading) is done now, so it’s back to your normal programming.

When going through my usual search checks, one of the questions asked was “What is the most difficult part about providing great customer service?” That’s quite a question and one that cannot be answered easily.

To answer this question, I thought back to some of my interviews. Mike Faith of said the hardest part is providing great customer service day in and day out. Robert Stephens of the Geek Squad said the hardest part is providing the same quality level as you get bigger.

I think those are both good answers. Staying focused on customer service and then keeping quality levels up as you get bigger is very tough. I don’t think one is harder than the other – they are both extremely difficult.

Scaling customer service.
There is a whole section on rapid growth on Service Untitled. Companies that experience a lot of growth have a lot of trouble scaling appropriately. Even companies that are growing at an average pace often have trouble scaling. They don’t know what to do, have trouble hiring the right person, and so on. They just keep growing and can’t do much. Robert Stephens told me it was easy for the Geek Squad to provide great customer all the time when it was just him. However, when there are 15,000 people providing customer service as well, it gets much more difficult.

Staying focused.
Staying focused is another problem that companies of all sizes and growth levels experience. Staying focused on anything, including customer service, can be very hard. When there are bills to pay, people to train, customers to serve, etc., focusing on providing great customer service (consistently) is a very difficult thing to do. Mike Faith said that staying focused and working to always improve is a constant struggle and something they have to work on day in and day out. Not all companies are willing to make that kind of commitment.

How do you work to scale your customer service and stay focused? Needless to say, those are two topics we’ll be re-looking in the future.