How to Beef Up Your Customer Service Experience
November 26, 2012
Your customers no longer are voiceless. With the rise of social media, delivering a good customer service experience is more crucial than ever.
And executives know it. Eighty percent of executives believe that customer strategy is more important than it was three years ago, according to Michael Maoz at Gartner (News - Alert). More than 90 percent of executives expect customer experience will be part of their specific competitive differentiation in the next two to three years.
So the need is clear, but the question still remains how to deliver a better customer service experience. Malcolm Carlaw, president of Impact Learning Systems, outlined six key ways to improve customer service in a recent blog post for the Technology Services Industry Association.
First, it is important to understand your company’s own values.
“In many cases, employees don’t understand the values of the company they work for,” said Carlaw. “Value statements are developed by well-intentioned senior management and then relegated to new-hire training or unread posters in lonely corners of the office. Even mid-level managers charged with executing the company mission are hard-pressed to outline their company’s core values.”
Second, naturally, is developing a customer-centric culture.
“It is difficult to deliver exceptional service if your culture and service structure do not reflect your service values,” he noted. “If you don’t have well-delineated service values, you need to start by creating them, as they will form the foundation of your customer experience strategy.”
Third, choose metrics at each touchpoint that reflect the claims of your customer experience.
Many years ago I worked for a credit card company that used to track eight different customer service metrics, and those metrics were broadcast in live time on digital displays throughout the company’s campus. If you are serious about the customer experience, track it.
Fourth, extend the reach of your channels into the cloud.
“Customer portals, search engines, community sites, as well as traditional chat, e-mail, and call centers, form a communication web within the cloud that can be harnessed to fulfill the customer experience promised by the company,” wrote Carlaw. “Technology is not the goal, but rather the vehicle for understanding what customers need to improve their business. The goal is to deliver what customers need.”
Fifth, listen to the customers. File this under walk the talk, which sadly is something many firms still need to learn when it comes to customer service.
Finally, make sure you walk the talk by appointing a Chief Customer Experience Officer (CCEO), someone who will monitor and take charge of your company’s customer experience. And make sure he has real power.
“If the CCEO is not a part of the powerbase or does not have overwhelming support from senior executives, the task of managing the customer experience across the enterprise becomes difficult,” noted Carlaw.
Pay attention to these six factors and watch as your customer reviews move in the right direction.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli