Four aspects of your business need to be brought together in harmony to create a total customer service culture. These four aspects are: your Vision, your People, your Customer Service System, and proven Tools and Techniques for continuous improvement.
Read on to see how these 4 open secrets can help you win customer loyalty and generate new business success.
1. Put customer service at the heart of your Vision. We all keep our promises to our customers, most of the time. By promises, I mean things like opening hours, delivery times, accurate estimates for service to be delivered, and so on. These attributes may not delight your customers, but when you break your promises you will drive them away from you and towards your competitors.
It is the unique selling points of your product or service that will win new customers and keep current ones loyal. So, it is vital that you put the delivery of these customer service attributes in your Vision. Not for the benefit of customers, but for the guidance of your team; to keep them focused on customer service, the key success factor of your business. If that is not obvious in your Vision, then now is the time for a review of your business vision and strategy! Check out Amazon's commitment to the customer in their vision:
2. Engage your team to create a customer service culture. Without your people, there is no business. People have ideas and they know their jobs best. When you involve them in the process of changing your culture, to one of total customer service, you gain their commitment. Your role as business leader is to provide the Vision and the support to bring about improvement. Your people will need time, resources, and training to work together without functional or hierarchical barriers. One company that has a legendary customer service culture is Southwest Airlines. When you click on "Culture in Action" on their website, it directs you to a YouTube channel, "NutsAboutSouthwest" with many videos of their employees living the culture.
Check out this particular video of some very special employee/customer stories.
3. Take a systematic approach. Creating a customer service culture is an ongoing process. There is no end to it and you decide on the starting point. The stages in between are best achieved in a sequence. At PBC, we recommend 'The IMPROVEment cycle.' A step by step guide that follows the mnemonic: I Investigate the current situation, M Map the process and measure, P Prove causes and Pareto analysis, R Rethink the issue considering evidence, O Organize a test or simulation, V Verify that solutions and ideas improve the situation, and E Educate everyone and embed the solutions.
4. Apply the right tools. Our December newsletter was all about 3 Lost Keys That Unlock Sales and The Kano model. KANO is an essential tool for investigating your customer service performance and doing two things: 1) Understanding your customers' requirements, and 2) evaluating how well the attributes of your products satisfy those requirements. Kano was a Japanese business guru who also derived a way to map customer responses to questionnaires onto his model. A Kano question never calls for a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer. Rather it requires your customers to assess how much, if at all they value each aspect of your product or service.
A Kano-based customer survey is a fundamental tool for your customer service team.
Call PBC today for more information on any of the issues raised in this newsletter. We'd love to hear your customer service ideas and challenges. Let us help you prosper and make this year your most successful year yet.
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This originally appeared in our January 2017 Newsletter.