Having a true customer service culture depends on each individual employee.
- Each employee is focused on solving the customer’s problems
- Each employee strives to help the customer succeed in their business
- Each employee supports and helps their fellow employees
As managers, it becomes our job to ensure that every day all of our employees are:
- Return phone calls without delay and always within 24 hours.
- Reply to all E-Mails promptly.
- Inform customers and fellow employees when a response will take longer than expected.
Keep track of commitments so that they can do what they say.
Focused on the important
- First and foremost, prioritize work around what’s important to the customer.
- Second, prioritize work around what’s important to the company (fellow employees) as a whole.
- Then finally, prioritize work around what’s important for themselves
- Fully understand the customer’s needs in order to add value and help the customer succeed
- Take personal responsibility to quickly and decisively solve the customer’s problem or help a fellow employee
- When employees cannot solve the problem, quickly and directly escalate to a fellow employee who can.
Of course, none of this is rocket science. It is simple and straightforward (if not easy). But, alas, on planet earth, it is all too often forgotten.
How to Begin?
As managers we can begin to drive these behaviors by taking five baby steps:
- Ensure that we and our employees return phone calls within 24 hours
- Check that our and our employees’ E-Mail In-boxes have at most a few E-Mails in them and that all have been read and responded to
- Ensure that processes are designed to be efficient and effective for the customer not for our individual departments
- Quiz our employees about the customer “hot buttons” to ensure that they are focusing on the customer’s needs
- Give our employees ownership and decision making authority to quickly solve a customer’s problem (Hint: if our front-line employees need approval to give a customer a $10 credit then we have failed this baby step)
With these five baby steps our companies will go a long way towards driving a successful customer service culture that will reduce churn (customer turnover) and drive business growth.