I recently read a Business Week article titled Customer Service in a Shrinking Economy which outlined how companies and businesses are working to keep customer service up with poor sales and low employee morale. I'll admit, it's definitely difficult to put on a happy face and treat callers like royalty if your company and job security are full of uncertainty.

This article suggests keeping the customer service front lines strong while researching other ways to cut back such as office expenses. One of their examples mentioned consolidating customer call centers rather than eliminating representatives which would force longer hold times for customers. Another good strategy mentioned was to cross-train representatives to reduce hold times, transfers between agents and increase productivity. What a great idea!

More companies are aiming to please repeat buyers over acquiring new customers. Being eligible to receive free overnight shipping on a pair of shoes from Zappos.com might just be the thing to keep and expand their recurring customers! Another great example of cutting costs without compromising customer service mentioned in this article was when BMW implemented Wi-Fi service at its dealership. This gave customers an inexpensive way to pass the time productively while their cars were being serviced and decreased the dealership's free loaner car expenses by 10% to 15%.

Hotels and other business are aggregating purchase contracts of goods and services across multiple properties/locations to reduce costs without compromising customer expectations and loyalty. We at Source One have definitely seen these benefits with multiple client locations for electric and telephone rates and many more goods and services. Contact us to see what areas we can help you produce savings without losing your customer service.
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Tina Lamanna

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  1. Hello Strategic Sourcerer. Informational blog you have going. I hope this is an okay medium to post this but I'm a recruiter in the Boston area that is currently working with clients to find Strategic Sourcing professionals. Here is one particular job I'm recruiting for:

    Growing and fast moving Boston Research organization to find a Strategic Sourcing/Purchasing professional with 5-10 years of experience developing strategies around cost-containment and overseeing commodities and services specific to a Biotech and/or Pharmaceutical environment. We are looking for a professional who possesses a breadth of corporate experience creating value and supporting research and development.

    As a key member in the Sourcing group, you will work cross-functionally across a myriad of departments and have key responsibilities in the following areas:
    a. Process design, planning, analysis, et. al
    b. Vendor contract negotiations
    c. Assessing total cost ownership
    d. Managing expenses from the process level
    e. Systems implementation (previous Oracle/SAP implementation a plus)
    f. Writing and designing of presentations (strong verbal and written communication a must)

    Salary: Commensurate with experience

    If you know anyone that would be a great fit, please email me: recruiter81@gmail.com

    Thank you,