What kind of business do you think that the Ford Motor Company is involved in? Perhaps the easy answer is in the name – they manufacture and sell motor vehicles.
Wrong. Some people may still consider Ford to be a manufacturing company, but ask anyone within the Ford team and they will talk much more about their retail operation. Ford is a retailer that stocks cars – brand new on order from a factory for Ford-branded vehicles, but also the cars of their rivals as ‘nearly-new’ vehicles. At a recent Market Force event in London, Celia Pronto, Marketing and E-Commerce Director at Ford Retail expanded on the ‘Trust Ford’ mantra that now permeates all aspects of their organisation as a retail business first with a significant customer experience manifesto.
Ford is a retail company with a significant financial service operation too, designed to help customers buy those vehicles. Of course they design and build cars, but they need to keep the idea of being a retailer at the forefront of their business strategy so they can continue to prosper.
The production of cars that don’t sell because a company sees itself first as a manufacturer is a story that has, unfortunately, been repeated many times in the automotive and other sectors.
The same applies to companies like ours. When I attend conferences or other industry events, I wince when I hear people corral us as the ‘outsourcing industry’ or ‘call centre business’. We are not a contact centre company, that is simply apparatus; we are involved in the business of helping people by improving the customer experiences offered by our clients.
Offering better customer experiences certainly involves answering calls, answering emails, handling web chat, social media enquiries and monitoring, and our clients outsource many of those tasks to our team, but there is no such thing as an ‘outsourcing call centre industry’. There are simply partners – like us – who are experts in how to improve customer service that ensures customer experiences transform brand engagement into brand advocacy.
We are in the customer experience management industry. We make life easier for customers across all industries and thereby help differentiate our clients in their vertical market space.
What do you think about how customer service companies are described? Leave a comment here or tweet me on @aniederer.
Photo by M Heigl licensed under Creative Commons