Behind the Week’s Headlines: Customer service is not a department

It doesn’t matter who is involved or how it happens, but once a product leaves a warehouse, whenever, whichever, wherever, (as the Latin singer Shakira says) someone else is taking the responsibility for ownership of the product.

And this is when customer service or I should say good customer

service starts.

A couple recent incidents demonstrate the hilarity of the situation in this business.

Recently, we ordered some product on a Friday to be drop shipped to a customer, which we handle in combination with one of the major manufacturers. At some point, the customer was advised about a price decrease on the product. However, as we had it drop shipped to the customer site we were not informed of any price protection that was being passed on to us or the customer.

In another situation, we were working with a customer to upgrade their network infrastructure and a router was unpacked and discovered to be defective.

The vendor’s solution was to send the unit for service even though this would put the project behind schedule by two weeks.

Vendor reaction to that is “”No that product can’t be returned.”” Or “”the box has been opened.”” Most people in the industry are not impressed with vendors and their attitude in this regard.

That seems to be the pervasive attitude in this industry right now. Why do it today if we can put it off untill tomorrow. Put all the responsibility on the end user or reseller and let them deal with all the daily problems. Granted that is to a large degree how resellers earn their keep, but it really isn’t a fair situation from vendors when they are at the same time complaining about low margins, unrealistic customer expectations, lack of willingness to partner, lack of customer loyalty, and blah, blah, blah. Well, at the end of the day, product hasn’t changed ownership until money has changed hands.

The sooner we all understand and behave accordingly the better for everyone.

Customer service is an attitude.

Frank Abate is the president of Infinity Technologies of Mississauga, Ont.

Share on LinkedIn Share with Google+