The Best Service Is No Service

A while back I picked up The Best Service is No Service: How to Liberate Your Customers from Customer Service, Keep Them Happy, and Control Costs by Bill Price and David Jaffe which is based upon their experience with customer service at Amazon. The premise of the book is that if you're in the online game your customers don't want to talk to you or interact with you. They want to get what they want, anytime they want, with no need to "touch" you in any unplanned way. The goal being customer service eliminates itself rather than staffs up to process more volume. Another one of those ah ha moments where you say to yourself why didn't I think of that. How to do it, or at least my interpretation of how to do it:

  • Capture all touch points between you and the customer.
  • Classify the why or reason for the touch. Keep the options simple, less than 30, refine over time.
  • For each reason identify the cause, it is the causes your going to go after, not how to handle more touches faster, but rather what caused the touch and how do I get rid of it.
  • Create a touch index, a rolling 6 week total of all touches over some measure of your volume of business. Chart it. It should be driving down, especially if your volume of business is driving up.
  • Some touch reasons take longer to resolve or require multiple touches to close them. My recommendation is go after these first - things that take time and more than likely allot of back and forth are the most frustrating for your client and the most expensive for you. Once these are closed than go after the volume one touch reasons and close them in order of highest to lowest volume.

This approach should build momentum. It is likely going to be hard to get rolling because everyone is so busy fighting fires but as they put out the cause of the fire they should find more and more time to invest in proactive prevention rather than reactive customer service.

Pretty simple. I wish I could take credit for the insight. And like everything, hearing it second hand from me doesn't do the system any justice at all. Get the book!