Providing world-class customer service means having a set of standards, protocols, and a system. When it comes to customer service, excellence in execution is non-negotiable. Here are the rules in creating a customer-oriented culture.
11 Rules for World Class Customer Service
1. Customer service is a top priority.
Customer service is not a one-time event nor a seasonal occurrence. It should be prioritized as the other departments of the company: sales and marketing, operations, finance, and technology. It should be a business’s way of life and culture.
Everyone, from leaders to front-line employees, needs to be onboarded when it comes to customer service. It should be included in meetings, strategic planning sessions, and even, training. For more information see past eService, Executive Sponsorship.
2. Create a customer service training manual.
There are a lot of great customer service guides that you can use as references. However, as the leader, you need to create a service training guide that contains the standard processes. Make sure that it is aligned with your company’s goals, values, and philosophies.
Remember that the manual you will be creating will be used generations after generations of employees. It should capture the essence of how you want to implement and execute. For more information, see past eService Implementation & Execution.
3. Recognize opportunities to go above and beyond.
The foundation of excellent customer service is service aptitude. This refers to the ability of a person to recognize opportunities or events to exceed customer expectations. This is all about having the instinct to go above and beyond for your customers. For more information see past eServices Service Aptitude & It isn’t their fault, they don’t know any better.
4. Provide training for service aptitude.
The great thing about service aptitude is that it can be learned and turned into a discipline. The company is responsible to provide training regularly. Your goal is to train everyone, from leaders and staff, to improve service aptitude.
Create a kind of company culture that practices service aptitude daily. Reinforce it through internal communications such meetings and even in simple watercooler conversations.
5. Customer service involves planning and strategy.
Some people believe that customer service only takes common sense. This is not true. Never leave your employees to interpret customer service on their own.
Customer service is not about treating customers the way you want to be treated. It involves study, planning, and strategy because you will be dealing with different types of people that have different sets of values and expectations. For more information see past eService Never & Always.
6. Take Service to the Next Level: Data Driven
Your product or service is a commodity. Your competitors probably have just about the same good product at a lower price. What can set you apart?
There is so much sameness in products, that what will set you apart is the human resource – i.e., the customer service team. Service is the commodity you sell.
What takes service to the next level is a data-driven approach. Have a customer database if possible. Or at least have customer metrics, knowing the commonality of interests.
You may have extremely skilled and technically competent employees, but have low service aptitude.
Train all of your employees to increase their service aptitude, and this will surely provide more value to your clients and better customer experience. For more information see past eService Proficient or Nice?
7. Customer empathy is vital.
Empathy is all about being able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Empathy is important because it allows you to connect with your customers. For more information see past eService Walking in the shoes of your Customer.
Your employees should learn how they can connect to customers better so that they can be more compassionate, and they can anticipate their needs better.
8. Everything is Our Problem: Practice accountability.
As a leader, it is important for you to train your employees to develop a sense of accountability. When employees are accountable, this means that they understand everything is also their problem and responsibility. This means removing the victim mentality that “it is the customer’s fault.”
It is very important to take responsibility for our business actions. This makes finding solutions easier and our customers happier. This equates to reliability. For more information see past eService Everything is our problem.
9. Be naïve, NEVER paranoid
Avoid imagining that the worst-case scenario in your customer interactions. In other words, do not be paranoid. Do not be difficult on your customers and think that they are just trying to take advantage.
Do not punish them for what you think they might be getting away with. The customer may not be always right, but this does not mean that you should beat them in an argument. Doing so can lose you a customer. For more information see past eService Foot Traffic.
10. Employee empowerment.
So often leadership is disappointed with the front-line employees’ lack of above & beyond efforts and actions. The key reason? Your employees are scared! Employee empowerment is all about allowing your employees to be accountable and make swift decisions regarding delivery of customer satisfaction. Employee empowerment equates to faster customer service.
11. Think CSAT.
CSAT stands for Customer Satisfaction, and everyone should be losing sleep over one’s Customer Satisfaction Score.
Regardless of your company’s size, someone in your organization has to be in charge of the Customer experience and all that goes with it. Conduct post-service surveys to validate customer experience.
He is the one who is tracking the scores, making sure that the standards are being met. He oversees and then makes sure that everyone in the company as well as within the department is aligned with customer service performance and concerns.
For more information see past eService Who is losing sleep at night over the Customer?