Customer Service = Productivity?

Steve Rubel twittered an interesting link this morning: Eliminating the need for customer service.

To summarize:

“A company’s customer service staffing is inversely proportional to the quality of its underlying operations.” Focusing on how many times and why customers contact the company can be a very valuable metric.

By empowering your customers to solve their own problems, you reduce the amount of time and staff that must be spent solving 80% (according to the authors) of your customer issues. Without that wasted (using the term liberally) energy, you can focus on your core business, whatever it may be.

Walking through your systems, questioning why each step is necessary, learning where your customer get stymied and quit, can be valuable to solving any issues. Much like a weekly review, tackling the weakest portions of your system, and improving them if / when possible.

In the The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss applies the Pareto Principle to his customers, getting rid of the 20% who caused 80% of his companies problems. Why get rid of them, if you can make it easier for them, making your work and productivity easier.