In 1988 I was trained under the retail customer service philosophy
“The customer is always right”
Watching this unfold in the work place looked like this.
Warm welcoming smiles to customers entering the store, clean tidy displays of stock (we had plenty of) , enticing window displays that stopped the window shopper walking past, staff knowledge of current stock, restocking kept on top of, adequate staffing levels for peak times, staff appreciated and rewarded for their efforts, attentiveness to those customers in our changing rooms, trusted relationships built with customers to see them coming back as repeat customers.
In my opinion Customer Service should be central to all induction and staff training and the structure of your business systems.
When I say Customers I mean internal or external. Fellow staff, team or key suppliers and contractors as well as the ones that purchase our products and services.
Fellow staff are just as important to serve/help as the customers who pay for your product or service.
“I believe Customer Service focused businesses achieve the most growth in sales and allow for real wellbeing for all involved in the organisation”
Writing, systemising and developing operation/administration / induction and training manuals has been the bread and butter of my business since 2003.
WHAT has been missing in a lot of these projects has been the managements lack of focus on the customer service component. When you build your business around your customers needs you get to serve them well and they not only buy from you, they recommended you to others. In this age of social media that recommendation spreads a lot further than a conversation over a bbq with friends. A great reputation spreads the word for you.
I have noticed facebook groups , community pages etc are flooded with requests for great services and products. I have also noticed large businesses Facebook pages getting tagged by disgruntled customers posting their frustrations directly to the business Facebook pages for all to see.
MODELLING of customer service comes from the top of the organisation.
Where leaders treat their team as someone of value – this sets a culture norm.
This culture must be lead from the top CEO’s and boards focusing not on the people in their organisations. Current research backs this up.
In a recent Article from Hubspot research showed
“We weren’t surprised to learn that growing companies are more likely to prioritize customer success than companies with stagnating revenues.”
Where do you start measuring Internal Customer Service?
Run Surveys with customers
Insights into customer surveys
The two most common results I have seen from internal customer surveys ( staff /team)
- Largely constructive feedback with insights on how things could be done better
- Little feedback by of staff (can indicate a lack of trust, time and / or respect for management)
I know which company I would you rather manage.
In some organisations we have run anonymous online surveys to gauge how customers, key stakeholders and staff/ team feel about their customer service experience.
This can be costly and time consuming. We do need to measure where things are though.
Review Customer Complaints
Large organisations usually have methods for handling unhappy customers so can gaining insights from data collected is a good starting point. ( IF the system has been well designed )
There will be a large about of customers who have not complained directly to your company. This can be for multiple reasons.
- The issue was a niggle … and didn’t erk them enough to complain – which could turn into an opportunity for a fellow supplier to snap them up.
- The feedback system is to hard to navigate so they give up. It is worthwhile auditing your systems – get other staff members to try out your systems and provide feedback.
- They got fedup with trying to get through your customer service phone lines and took to twitter to start a hashtag movement which you missed as you don’t track you business name online
Social media searches may come up with results when under key words or if you are unlucky enough you may have a hashtag devoted to your customer service standing.
Read how Mandy Woolf used the power of the hashtag to get more notice to her customer service complaint HERE
Revisit your Customer Service Standards
- Review your customer service standards
- Review how your customer service are measured
- Review the systems that support the standards
- Weave Customer Service throughout all staff/ team training at ALL levels of the business.
Fiona Hall is a business consultant who loves
To contact Fiona – email [email protected] or call 09 948 6278