Most business owners will say that Customer Service is important to their success. Most believe that they provide it. However, when asked, “What is Great Customer Service ?”, most have a difficult time spelling it out. Try this at your next Managers Meeting!
- Step 1: Have your people spell out the parameters of Great Customer Service IN CONCRETE TERMS. Take all the vague descriptions out of it. Get ready to ask “What does that mean?”, when your people say things like “be responsive” Examples: — Expect and receive a bid in 6 hours. — Make delivery in 4 days. — Give 3 Status Updates. — Points of Contact can make defined commitments and have the power to keep them.
- Step 2: Identify the I3P’s. Internal Points of Potential Problem. These are the reasons within your company that you have traditionally failed to provide Great Customer Service. This is hard work and might take your team a separate meeting to hash it out. Note: Always be the first to take blame, if any is warranted.
- Step 3: Identify the individuals that control the parameters of Great Customer Service.
- Step 4: Spell out the cost/benefit of taking Customer Service from where it currently stands, to the level that you define as Great. This is Money. If you can’t figure it out, get an outsider that knows what they are doing.
- Step 5: Add the parameters associated with Great Customer Service to the responsibility list of people in your company. Obviously, these are the people that can control the I3P’s.
- Step 6: Make Changes to the Pay for Performance Plan associated with the cost/benefit in Step 4. If Great Customer Service makes you more money, your people make more. If they under perform and they cost you money, they make less. It must cut both ways.
- Step 7: Monitor the results. Track the parameters of great customer service on your Flash Reports. Drive the effort yourself! It must be important to you to be important to your employees.
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Great Customer, One True Litmus Test!
You have the potential to provide GREAT Customer Service, when you will do exit interviews with customers that you lose. Call them yourself!
Say the following: “I am not calling to try to get you to change your mind. I wish you well going forward with your new vendor. But, it would help me to know what we could have done better. Please, be brutally honest. We want to improve what we do. The customers we lose can tell us much more than the customers we keep.”
Note: Do not pitch! Listen!