We all know the basic fundamentals in delivering exceptional customer service; good communication skills, a friendly personality, patience, empathy and smiling is important. However these qualities alone will not create a customer focussed environment.
Many businesses, government agencies and non-profit organizations are becoming more aware of the need to identify who their customers are and take strategic steps to create a positive experience.
Too often we concentrate all our efforts and energy on customers; not as much effort is considered with employees. An important fact to consider is that employees are the very people that serve your customers. They also influence the culture in your organisation. Overlook employees and they will eventually become tired, burn out, negative and dispassionate.
It is important that your customer service strategy considers your customers and employees with equal importance.
While the exact nature of a customer service strategy will vary from one business to another, there are a few basic factors that should be considered in any setting.
- Identify your customers
- Assess the needs and wants of your customers
- Establish a Customer Service vision – this step is important for everyone to understand their role in achieving the vision. Consider incorporating the organisations values and behaviours – its acts as a foundation on what you are all about.
- Implement and communicate your Customer Service standards and expectations – include marketing and delivery
- Accountability – it is important for all staff to be held accountable in achieving the standards and expectations.
- They need to understand how „their“ service will affect the company’s overall performance. It is a cultural expectation.
- Training – Focus on how the organisation expects each employee to behaviour in any given situation. Training should include; how to respond to complaints, managing angry customers, addressing customers needs, how to speak and interact with customers.
- Focus on recruiting and retaining good employees
- Reward and recognition – create a system for acknowledging and rewarding employees. Positive reinforcement for desired behaviours.
- Measure your Customer Service satisfaction levels regularly
- Review your strategy and modify as required
Take the time to develop and implement your customer service strategy. Organisations with an exceptional service culture did not achieve this by accident. They have strategies that encompass their business goals, these goals also impact corporate objectives and priorities. A well defined and executed strategy is the first step in achieving an exceptional service culture.