There are a lot of challenges to running a successful company. That’s why it’s more important than ever that utilities have a clear road map of where they’re headed and how they intend to get there.
Without that road map, the fast track to success can turn into a slow, bumpy ride. Here are seven thoughts to keep in mind when drawing the road map to success.
No. 1. Develop a system to measure customer satisfaction. Is every customer that walks in your door or calls you on the phone being treated like they are important to your utility? You won’t know unless you ask.
Assign someone the responsibility to randomly call customers who have recently interacted with your company to find out what their experience was like. Ask your customers to rate their level of satisfaction with how they were treated when they called your utility, including hold time, response time and how they were generally handled as a customer. Ask your customers what they like and dislike about doing business with you.
No. 2. Create the standards. Does every customer that calls your utility or walks through your door receive the same excellent customer service experience? To create a consistent level of customer service, create customer service standards for how a customer is treated on the phone and in person. Make sure that every employee knows what those standards are and how to demonstrate those standards when serving your customers.
No. 3. What are the company’s goals? Do your employees know your customer service and sales goals for the next month and the next year? If the people on your team do not have a clear picture of the company’s objectives, goals and anticipated outcomes, how can you expect to have everyone united in a common goal? Involve employees in establishing these goals. People have more ownership in the accomplishment of goals they have helped create.
No. 4. Does everyone in the company know the company’s mission? People want to feel they are part of something and that their contribution has a positive impact on the future of the company. Give them the opportunity to create a mission statement they will support. Ask them to develop their own personal mission statement to support the overall company mission. We all feel more committed when we take ownership in creating our future.
No. 5. Benchmark the company. Measure those key components that are vital to longevity and growth. Compare yourself to others in your industry. How do your standards measure up against your competition? What improvement can you make to customer service complaints, abandonment rate, hold time and call transfers? Let the whole company know how you compare to the industry.
No. 6. Keep your talent. How much have you invested in the last 12 months toward enhancing the skills of your staff? Communicating, working with difficult customers and understanding customer’s needs are learned skills that require training. Most people want the opportunity to learn new skills. They want to grow and learn in their job environment. Offer them the tools to become better at what they do.
No. 7. Hire the right people. Finding the right people who can deal with the varied and sometimes difficult customers that walk through your doors can be a challenging situation. Use a personality profile instrument before you hire to determine if the person you are going to make a substantial training investment in has the skills and attitude you are looking for. A personality profile can be a great tool to help determine if the candidate you are considering is the right person for the job, before you hire them.
Every business needs a road map to success and utilities are no different. With a clearly defined road map, it’s easier to see where you’re going and how good a job you’re doing at reaching your destination.
David Saxby is president of Measure-X, a Phoenix-based measurement, training and recognition company that specializes in customer service and sales skill training for telecommunications companies.