Customer service matters: A focus on standards for National Customer Service Week
With National Customer Service Week underway, we have a golden opportunity to really focus on customer experiences and outcomes and what we can do to improve them. Here, Pete Dunn, Community Engagement Manager, explores why customer service is so important, and some of the ways it can be delivered effectively.
We’re all customers. So, we all know what a poor service interaction feels like. We’ve all experienced being passed from pillar to post. Then it gets worse by being given the wrong information and the frustration of waiting a long time to talk to someone. Then, that person may seem to be reading from a script without listening to our actual problem.
Why, if we find it frustrating, annoying, infuriating and countless other adjectives, do we so often forget as businesses to really challenge ourselves to do better for our customers?
I believe that we all too often conflate doing a good job with delivering a good experience. But, if your good job is in the service sector and you can spend long periods of time without ever thinking what the impact of your work is on your customers, then you have lost your way.
Back to business basics
In our time of ever-increasing customer power and choice, getting these interaction basics wrong can make the difference between loyal and invested customers or no customers at all.
Unless you build a product or sell an idea that is perfect from the moment your customers start to interact with your brand, you will need to deliver good customer service. It is pretty much inevitable that you will come into contact with your customers when something goes wrong.
When this happens, it’s no longer about the product. It also encompasses customer perceptions, feelings and outcomes. So, as a business, if you’re not challenging how to interact with your customers better, then you’re not taking part in a contest that over 80% of organisations are – which is to be the best at Customer Experience.
Engaged and empowered
Your contact centre agents, who are the face and voice of your organisation, are all too often the least knowledgeable, lowest paid and worst engaged.
To ensure your customers are looked after, you need to look after your employees. Customer Service Week is a great opportunity to start this if you don’t already. Recognise success, work on personal development, build engagement and let your customer service advisors advocate your business.
These same representatives should receive the training and support necessary for them to be confident in giving the right information, resolving issues correctly and doing it all in a polite and professional manner that matches your brand values.
Effective coaching and training programmes are key. A constant flow of focused and actionable information that sets clear goals, with robust support to enable goal delivery, is also vital.
More strategically, you also need to ensure that the customer isn’t an afterthought. A coherent CX strategy that delivers on promises, leverages experiences and provides a low effort, emotionally engaging interaction prospect can’t be left to chance.
Ensure the C-suite and senior leaders role model customer-focused behaviours and support the frontline representatives. Build policy and process that helps to define, but not restrict, your experience outcomes. Invest in technology and people that will deliver your aims. Celebrate your CX heroes and establish what good looks like – not just at the point of contact but in all areas of your business.
Most importantly challenge yourself, your peers and your organisation. Ask the question “what will this mean for our customers?” and if you can’t answer positively, don’t do it!
The team at BPA Quality have the experience, expertise and knowledge on how to deliver the best customer service standards in your sector. Contact us to find out how we can help you.