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Business & Economy

How some companies are trying to jack up profits by investing in customer service




New companies may be changing the face of customer service.
New companies may be changing the face of customer service.
GUILLERMO LEGARIA/AFP/Getty Images

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It starts with dialing an 800 number and having to navigate your way through a maze of automated prompts just to talk to a human being on the other end. Whether or not the human being can actually answer your question, however, is often a totally different story.

Customer service call centers have garnered a reputation of being notoriously unhelpful and staffing members who are poorly equipped to handle customer concerns. However, some newer companies who have risen to popularity largely through the Internet, are taking a different approach to customer service.

Recently, the L.A. Times ran an article that profiled how Dollar Shave Club has invested in an improved customer service team that is not only trained to handle just about anything a customer might throw at them, but do it with the irreverent, candid style around which Dollar Shave Club has built its brand.

It’s more expensive and time-consuming than simply outsourcing customer service to a third party company, but the idea is to staff the customer service team with people who actually use the product.

Other companies are employing similar methods of hiring and training in the hopes that excellent customer service will create return customers, and that those profits will offset the extra costs from hiring and training the customer service force.

How is the landscape of customer service changing? How important is good customer service to you? Are you more or less inclined to buy certain products or services if you know they have good or bad customer service? What do you think about the customer service model behind companies like Dollar Shave Club?

Guest:

Micah Solomon, customer service consultant, Forbes.com contributor, and author of several books on customer service, including “Your Customer Is The Star: How To Make Millennials, Boomers And Everyone Else Love Your Business” (Forbes Media, 2014)

Kelly Wolske, senior trainer at Zappos Insights