Everyone wants exceptional customer service, but how does a business ensure it? In the last blog post we talked about customer service business models, and which model to choose and implement in your organization. There are, however, five actions that must occur before, during and after business model implementation for you to build a world-class customer service culture.
There are five actions that need to happen when creating your customer service culture. They are:
- Hire the right people
- Empower employees
- Embrace disruption
- Anticipate and close customer hoops
- Sweat the small stuff
Hire the Right People
Business owners often make the mistake of hiring individuals who are like them and are similar in strengths. You should hire people whom you like and who are a good fit, but who also bring different personalities and strengths to the company. When it comes to customer service, hire people who have great social and communicative aptitudes and abilities. Not everyone is an extrovert; however, hiring people who have clients top of mind is essential.
Give employees the leeway to work outside of the established work parameters. Strive for efficiency, but realize that an efficient process might not be appropriate for all customer situations. Allow your employees to make decisions that might not be “according to protocol” but will make the client satisfied. In other words, become comfortable with random inefficiency if it’s best for the client.
Passive avoidance is the biggest threat to customer satisfaction. So, by responding to clients’ concerns when they occur, we exceed their expectations. View it this way: Regardless of workflow or process, train your employees that nothing they are doing is more important than dealing with a client interruption (i.e., client concerns). Often a customer’s issue won’t align with an urgent work priority; however, the customer is more important at that moment.
Anticipate and Close Customer Hoops
World-class customer service requires considering the life cycle of the service offered and closing every potential loophole. The ability to anticipate client needs should be seamless. Know what clients want and need, and do it in a way that they don’t notice. Ask yourself this question: Which services have I provided to my customers that have open loops in the future, and do I want my clients to be surprised?
Sweat the Small Stuff
Pay attention to the fine details—employee appearance, office cleanliness, a welcoming atmosphere and error-free communications. These details attract and retain customers, and these standards of quality lift staff morale.
Believe That Customers Are the Priority
While all businesses try to achieve outstanding customer service, not all businesses succeed. The liberated CEO (as well as company employees) will need to ensure that the five actions for world-class service culture are in place and that employees believe that customers are the priority.