Crisis shouldn’t be the spur, but better late than never.

A Wall Street Journal article from a couple of summers ago caught my eye. Titled “Customer Service as a Growth Engine,” the article described efforts by large organizations such as Walgreen’s, Comcast, American Express and others to pay “more attention to customer service in an effort to increase sales and gain market share in the economic recovery.” The Journal cited a survey of more than 1,400 companies that found more than a quarter saying customer service would be the prime target of increased funding once the economy improved.

To which I silently responded, Duh!

I wonder if it occurred to executives at all those companies surveyed that had they invested more money in – or not scraped it away from — customer service activities when the downturn hit, they might already be enjoying increased sales and market share. It’s a real simple concept. People like to do business with companies that make it likeable to do business with them.

People in many lines of business are susceptible to overlooking customer service. That’s because they don’t really look at the people who pay them money as “customers” per se. Most think in terms of what they get rather than what they give. Customers come to them because they need something, goes this thinking, and for money they provide it, so ergo, customers ought to be grateful the business is there for them. […]