The Direction of Your Customer Service Improvements

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I was working with a client recently that was in the early stages of improving their customer service process. They felt the need to improve the process because a couple of their competitors were making a big noise in the market about their customer service teams and their customer service programs. The situation was becoming urgent as some of their customers were impressed with the story their competitor’s salespeople were telling as related to these services. However, my client really didn’t know how the new services worked, why this was so appealing, and what flaws, if any, existed in their current program. To make the situation more disconcerting, this client was engaging in improving their customer service program without the involvement of their customers.

Customer service is about serving the customer. That the client’s customers were expressing interest in competitive customer service programs implies there is an issue with the exisiting customer service program. However, fixing, improving, or changing anything related to customer service requires the participation, engagement, and involvement of the customer. Without customer involvement this is not a customer service program improvement, this is merely an internal process change. There is no validation that the cutomer is being served — only the organization perceptions of itself have changed.

Many businesses engage in these reactive activities far too often. In response to a competitive threat, instant erosion in revenues, or customer defection, businesses start to look inward to fix, correct, or improve their process. They are looking in the wrong direction. When there are situations in your market that are impacting the business, the place to go is to the market — your customers — to find out what needs improving, why it needs improvement, how it will stabilize the business relationship, and how a fix can provide a different type of competitive advantage. Solutions are solved exclusive from inside the company, they must involve the people that know your business and your competitors best — your customers.

Next time you have the urge, the need, or the desire to make a change focus your planning and information gathering in the right direction — focus outward. Focusing inward may make you feel better about making some changes; but, if it doesn’t do anything for the customer from their point of view, you have not fixed anything.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Cooke
I leverage my 25 years experience in sales and marketing to create and implement strategic initiatives and develop educational programs that increase both revenues and profits. I take great pride in my experience in turbulent, chaotic, and transitional work environments. It is from these experiences that I have developed my commitment to collaborative teams, strong internal and external relationships, effective communication, decisive leadership, and a cohesive, collaborative strategy as keys to sustainable revenue growth.

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