And Now for Some… ahem… Breaking News…

A few month back, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece that concludes that “companies are trying harder to please customers amid the recession – and it appears to be working.” The authors rightly point out that the American Customer Satisfaction Index is at a record high, an unexpected result given that customer satisfaction has declined in most prior recessions as companies cut back on service.

One example Mr. Sanserino and Ms. Tuna cite is Sprint Nextel Corp, which has in the past emphasized keeping call times short, but is now focused on first call resolution. According to the article, Sprint’s ACSI score is up 12.5% and the average subscriber called service four times last year, down from eight in 2007.

I am (very!) delighted to see good customer service – and sensible call center practices in particular – get this kind of positive press. And this article is just one example of many similar stories breaking across the business and popular press, recently. Kudos to the authors and especially to Sprint who seems committed to this direction (they announced this morning that they are acquiring Virgin Mobile USA, which has built a great reputation for service.)

But heck… do you ever wonder why this theme seems to be such a revelation to so many, now? Why did it have to take a severe downturn to prod so many companies to revisit and refocus their service efforts? Yep, build and equip your call center to provide solid service, allow it to do its thing – and good things happen. Not new stuff, folks. But if your company is not fully on board yet… better now than never.

Originally published in the ICMI Membership Blog.