Most organizations have a customer service strategy.
The following are typical claims they make in terms of what they intend to deliver:
— “we provide the best customer service”
— “we were voted #1 in service”
— “our goal is to exceed our customers’ expectations”
— “we go the extra mile…”
— “we pride ourselves on providing high quality service”
— “we provide memorable experiences”
These are all laudable expressions in terms of the service experience outcome they want to provide.
Words vs music
The problem, however, isn’t in the words; it’s in the music.
For example, they say “your call is important to us”, yet force us to wait 40 minutes to speak with a call center rep. How is this consistent with delighting anybody? I pity the frontline person every time they answer a call knowing how upset EVERY customer will be for having to wait so long. Pain ensues…
Unfortunately most organizations fail to deliver on their customer service promise.
There are two reasons for this:
— they don’t understand the essential elements that contribute to service miracles;
— they are unable to execute consistently on the service elements they choose to focus on.
The irony is that many organizations fail because they are inept at implementing flawed service elements. Not only do they suck at execution, they are trying to do the wrong thing.
So let’s start at the beginning. What are the things that must be done — the service elements — to deliver miraculous service experiences?
Hire miracle workers
Hire people who want to be in the same room with other humans. Miracles are delivered by people who create moments, not technology that delivers according to an algorithm.
And if you don’t recruit people who “love” humans you’re dead from the beginning. Your current recruitment strategy must be blown up and reinvented. It’s mission must be to identify those people who are innately driven to serve others whatever it takes.
Attract servant leaders
The internal world of any organization must be “cleansed” is miracles are to be commonplace.
Barriers to delivering astonishing moments must be expunged. Tools that enable conversation time with customers must be provided to everyone. And bureaucratic CRAP that prevents miracle workers from doing their job must be eliminated.
Leaders who serve ask “How can I help?” are the powerful force to enable this culture. Find ‘em. Grab ‘em. Never let ‘em go.
Morph your executive leadership program reward managers who serve others like an involuntary muscle. Command and control freaks have no place in creating miracles.
Let your people go
Empower people to serve people. It’s the loose vs tight dilemma.
Do you trust that your miracle workers will do the right thing for the company if you empower them to take customers to a heightened service experience?
Many organizations believe that they will go too far left to satisfying the customer and sink company profits. RUBBISH! In my experience, if they are given the trust of leadership, they are amazing at balancing what it takes to dazzle someone while at the same time protecting the come.
Ok, say they go too far for a customer every once in a while. Are you telling me that there are no other occasions in the company’s world where margins may not be optimized?
The real issue is: do you want to dilute your margins for a customer miracle or do you want to do it for a sales conference in Maui?
Lose the cost phobia
“But we can’t provide all the resources needed to deliver miracles and still deliver the margins expected of us”. HOGWASH!
Ever see a study that correlates “touch time” with net income? NO! and you never will. But you do see market share statistics explain a drop in revenue accompanied by stories of excommunicated customers who were unable to take crummy service.
The cost guys want cost to drive investment decisions and as a result really stupid service acts are taken like outsourcing call centres to a part of the world that has a difficult time with our language.
Yes these folks are well educated on IP technology but I CAN’T COMMUNICATE WITH THEM BECAUSE I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY’RE SAYING.
I love Tony Heish’s really simple view of call centers. They’re not cost centers, they’re “loyalty centers” and should be managed as such. Invite someone to call. Spend as much time with them as you have to take care of them. Deliver a miracle and they will return.
Kill the stupid
Rules, policies and procedures intended to maintain efficient operations fly right in the face of customer logic. So they may satisfy some internal perspective of sense, but are destructive — ineffective — in delivering service miracles.
The couple who wants a booth in a Vegas restaurant but is refused because booths are reserved for parties of 4 or more is really annoyed when there are only a few people there and all booths are vacant.
Miracles are simple to deliver when you realize that the customer’s desires supplant the internal world of an organization.
The real question is: do we have the guts to put the customer in control of the rules we operate under? If YES, miracles will come; if NO mediocrity will stay and DEMISE will most likely result.
A simple starting point. Purge “It’s not our policy” from your vocabulary and fire anyone who utters it (and tell the rest of the organization you did it).
Miracles are simple
Miracles are not complicated. In fact as customers ourselves, we find they are often created by simple moments that surprise us because we are not used to special treatment.
We are in a retail store (known for its lack of service) unable to find an open service counter to pay for our purchases. A young man dressing a mannequin spots us meandering; he offers his help and finds an open service position for us.
A bloody miracle? ABSOLUTELY!
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