The other day I noticed a “No Wait” policy posted in a grocery store. The sign read, “We guarantee that you will no longer experience long lines. When we see more than three people in line, we will open a new register immediately.”
I had plenty of time to read the sign. There were six people in line ahead of me!
Customer service standards are only as good as the people who enforce them. Lots of us are filled with good intentions…but good intentions don’t count. When it comes to the delivery of service, the only things that do count are the actions that customers actually experience.
If a company boasts about its customer service policies and then fails to deliver the promised service, it actually does more damage than if it had never created the standards in the first place. When this occurs, customer trust is replaced by skepticism.
Develop customer service standards for your organization. Make sure they can realistically be supported through current staffing and budget.
Customer service standards should be simple and easy to implement.
Training should be provided at all levels of the organization so every employee knows the following:
WHAT customer service actions are expected of them
HOW to deliver great customer service
WHEN to make exceptions in order to make the customer happy
WHY their role in customer service is important to their career and the success of the organization
A recognition program needs to be in place in order to reward employees for delivering great customer service.
Accountability need to be defined so employees know how their workplace behavior will be measured. They also need to clearly understand the consequences when they fail to meet the service standards.
Customer service is the responsibility of every employee. Many companies are task-oriented rather than relationship-oriented. That is, employees are rewarded by the volume of calls they take instead of the quality of those calls. Many of us are so focused on our tasks – in other words, all of the things we need to get done each day – they we forget about building relationships with the very people who keep us in business – our customers!
Creating relationships with our customers is a win-win situation. Loyal customers are more pleasant to deal with. They purchase more products, refer new customers and are more forgiving when problems occur. Loyalty-focused companies consistently outperform their competitors.
Whether or not you are in a competitive market, creating and then breathing life into your customer service standards impacts your bottom line! Creating and nurturing service standards that are consistently delivered creates both satisfied and loyal customers and employees.
Is your company’s “path” paved with good intentions, or do you have a system to ensure that the actions of your staff consistently make for a favorable customer experience?