2010 Employers’ Resolutions for Customer Service


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It’s hard to believe it is nearly 2010!  Happy New Year to you.  The beginning of the new year and new decade affords us a great time to reflect and make a fresh start.  This is true on an individual basis, but is also true when it comes to customer service for you as a manager, leader and employer.  Especially as the economy improves, it is going to be imperative to deliver a great service experience so you can reap the benefits, and differentiate your business from your competition.  Enclosed are my 2010 resolution recommendations which will help you and your firm deliver great service experiences. 

Review your clients’ experience from beginning to end.  Often I will speak to people who believe that because they are focused on their contact center and individual calls, e-mails or chat sessions within that contact center, they have addressed customer service sufficiently.  Understand your clients’ experience is made up of much more than individual transactions, however.  I could have a satisfactory call, and yet not be happy with the overall experience.  Systematically review your clients’ entire experience, especially reviewing policies and technology that create client issues. 

Empower your employees.   Allow your employees to make decisions in the best interest of your clients.  Teach your employees the guidelines to make the decisions and then allow them to execute.  Not only will your clients’ issues be resolved much quicker, making them happier, but your employees will be happier as well.  If an employee is forced to tell a client ‘no’ only to have the supervisor say ‘yes’ each time the situation occurs, client and employee satisfaction is sacrificed. 

Understand the why.  Why does your business exist?  Really?  Does your business offer convenience, stability, happiness?  If you understand why your business really exists, and then ensure your employees also understand that their job is ultimately to deliver that convenience, stability, happiness or other purpose, you will have employees who make decisions and behave in a manner that is aligned with your ultimate objectives.  

Value your clients, employees and shareholders.  According to Fred Reicheld in Loyalty Rules:  How Today’s Leaders Build Lasting Relationships, in order to achieve loyal clients a balance needs to be achieved between the desires of your clients, employees and shareholders.  It is at this point that you will be able to maximize profits.  Statistics prove this to be true, and when you think about it, it makes sense, for your employees are key to developing and providing great client experiences, which in turn create customers who are loyal and advocate the firm, ultimately driving shareholder profits.  If you are experiencing high turnover (or expect to once the economy improves), or have increased short-term profits at the expense of your clients’ experience, you are in jeopardy of risking all three

Reward the correct behavior.  According to The Human Capital Edge, authors Bruce Pfau and Ira Kay say employees want to be recognized for their individual performance and want employees who don’t perform fired.  In fact, failure to discipline and fire non-performers is one of the most demotivating actions identified.  Take it one step further.  Hire and reward people who are service-oriented and foster a client-centric organization. 

Communicate often.   Good customer service requires constant communication, training and reinforcement.  Within the organization, customer service needs to be integrated into existing staff meetings, communications and training.  Communications, meetings and training also need to exist that primarily focus on the experience of the client.  Communicate often with your clients as well.  Let clients know what improvements you have made for them, set expectations, and solicit and review feedback from many different sources, including social media.

Measure the results.  After identifying the experience of your clients, set customer service objectives and measure what that experience is.  Set your objectives that measure your clients’ experience beyond the contact center.  Identify negative trends and address client issues before they are evidenced in client defections.   Review your progress against service objectives regularly.

Have a wonderful new year!  And this year lead a client-culture within your organization or department.  Tomorrow’s blog … customer service resolutions for employees! . 

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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