What if the norm in the business world was good customer service? What if whenever you had a problem with a company's product or service, you could just contact someone, and a live human being who was knowledgeable and skilled enough to solve your problem would immediately respond?
I'm sure you're probably laughing right now at the absurdity of my scenario, because it seems so ... science-fictiony. The norm today seems to be either poor customer service, or difficult customer service (push 1 for this, wait on hold, push 17 for that, wait on hold...).
The interesting thing about this situation, though, is that it creates enormous opportunity for those companies that are willing to significantly improve their customer service. By doing so, they can stand out among their competition and win more business.
Some companies are already aiming high in this department: According to the 2007 Customer Service Survey conducted for the National Retail Federation and American Express
We at the Fool have also been paying attention to customer service, and in our 2007 Fool Awards, Nordstrom beat out the competition (which included other impressive servers such as Amazon.com, Netflix
Good customer service can only help a company in our current environment. I suspect it has something to do with Amazon's 75% revenue growth over the past two years, and Netflix's customer retention.
What else could happen
Of course, if more and more companies started offering outstanding customer service, and it became the norm, there could be a downside for business: the loss of a useful competitive edge. Companies will still be paying for the service they provide, but it won't be rewarding them as much.
Until that unlikely scenario occurs, though, there's much room for improvement and rewards.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Netflix and CarMax. American Express, CarMax, and Sears are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Try our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.