Providing great customer service is a top priority for most businesses, and for many businesses, providing great customer service can often be what gives them the edge over their competition. However, even in companies with solid customer service operations, it is not uncommon, when delving beneath the surface, to find a few inconsistencies and at times, a lack of understanding.
So how does an organization overcome these issues and lay a solid foundation of customer service? Below are some tips that may be helpful.
The first step to laying a solid foundation of customer service is to develop an understanding of and improve any inconsistencies in your customer service program. The best way to do this is to come together as a group and define what customer service means in the particular context in which your company operates. For example, a business consultancy is going to interact with its customers very differently than a cinema yet both can be great in their own way. While a business consultancy will likely have fewer customers, they will work with their customers on a more close and personal level. They’re likely going to have a very long-term relationship with their customers and will have the luxury of getting to know their customers personally, and over time, understand their needs and what makes them “tick.” Their customer service is going to look very personal and slightly different with each customer. On the other hand, a business such as a cinema will see many customers throughout their day and have very brief but similar interactions with each one. For them, great customer service may be as simple as moving their customers through their lines as quickly and courteously as possible.
This is why it is so important that everyone involved understands the particular framework that defines great customer service within the context that the company operates.
The second step in laying a solid foundation for customer service is the development of a strong company culture of service that originates with the company leadership. The process by which employees are inducted into the company’s culture is known as internal marketing. When the CEO and CFO are profoundly committed to excellent customer service, then the necessary resources and training for each employee are more likely to be prioritized. This commitment has a way of “filtering down” through the entire organization thus fostering a culture of excellent customer service. The most successful customer service operations are those where the drive for customer service excellence comes from the top down. Strong leadership, consistent communication and high-quality training are key.
Finally, the third step in laying a solid foundation for effective customer-service program is to be true to who you are. In other words, don’t get caught up in changing market dynamics that may tend to alter how you do business. Stay committed to your priority of excellent customer service, but use change and technology to your advantage. Remember, you drive your company’s customer service “engine” not changing market dynamics, so keep your principles and priorities at the forefront of your daily operations. In doing so, your company will always have the competitive edge.