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The Evolution of the Service Experience: Cooperation and its Impact on Customer Expectation

I cannot say if customer service is, in general, improving or getting worse.  The American Customer Satisfaction Index suggests that customer service improved until mid-2014 but has been trending downward since. It is probably growing in some industries and not in others. Personally, I am occasionally impressed with the service, but the service I receive is “adequate.”  I give talks frequently, and I often start the presentation by asking who can recall a positively memorable service experience in the last few months. Typically, I will see a smattering of raised hands.  If asked about unsatisfactory service experiences, the number of hands raised is usually far larger. Is Customer expectation changing or is consistency slipping?

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The Value-Added Distributor: Present and Future

In many business-to-business markets, value-added distributors are used to get products to the end-user. Well-known companies such as Grainger, Fastenal, and Ferguson Supply are examples of distributors that offer a broad range of products to a wide variety of industries. Such companies are typically non- or low-valued added distributors. They stock inventory from a variety of suppliers, market it to the end customer and typically provide product delivery.

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Great Customer Experiences Do Create Referring Customers

Over the past few months, we have been doing a good deal of analysis of the more than 300,000 interviews we have in our database. We are trying to glean as much as possible from this trove of information and learn how great customer service impacts other behaviors.  We are particularly interested in the linkage between great customer service and referral behavior. I want to share some of what we are learning. There are some findings that apply to many businesses. 

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Using Behavioral Science to Improve Customer Service

Over the years, I have read several articles on using what is known about human behavior to improve customer satisfaction.  I am surprised that more companies have not adopted this approach to create a better service experience.  Based on research done in a health care environment, a new article appearing in the McKinsey Quarterly highlights how behavioral science can be effectively used to create better patient experiences.  While the research was conducted in healthcare, I suspect that many of these actions apply to some industries.  I want to translate some of their actions into what they may mean in an industrial service setting.

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