Customer Service

March 20, 2007 on 10:32 am | In Customer Service | Comments Off

Much is said and written today about what makes good customer service. Every study ever done concludes that people will pay more for a product or a service if there is excellent customer service behind it. There is so much literature out there that tells us this it is sometimes a wonder that you continue to get poor service anywhere. Yet it is pandemic. Most business providers do not know how, or do not care to provide, excellent customer service.

We all have our war stories about an event where we got poor service. And those same studies tell us that a person who received bad service will tell an average of 20 people about the bad service. Those who get good service will usually only tell three. What makes good customer service when your customer is the US Government?

I published an article in the December 2006 Contract Management magazine that asks the question “Who IS the Government Customer?” In that article (available at I suggest that there are actually three customers with very different interests representing the government. Just as when you market to the government, you must provide all three of these government representatives with outstanding customer service. These are the technical representative who defines the requirement and usually performs the acceptance testing, the financial manager who certifies the funds and issues payment, and the contracting officer who awards the contract and administers it through closeout.

We’ll talk more about these three in the coming weeks, but if you are a supplier to the government you have three distinct decision makers, and at least three “customers” to keep satisfied.

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