Monday, November 19, 2018

Amazing Service Begins With Engaged Leaders

By Sean Hawkins

Providing excellent service to customers is not as hard as we make it seem. However, it takes commitment, diligence and lots of effort to do it well. In simplest form, excellent service is the result of treating customers with courtesy and respect. Treat them like people first, with an empathetic and sympathetic approach, and you are on the path towards success. Unfortunately, in the business world, we may lose sight of that.

If the process of doing business leads to unsatisfied customers, it is time to reevaluate how business is done. Companies are competing for the same customer, and if all things are equal, service is usually a deciding factor for the consumer. As service leaders, you must evaluate how you're doing business. That begins with your customer facing teams.
How can you help your team provide great service?

Review Processes
Exceptional service allows agents to offer immediate solutions without getting bogged down in processes or policy. This leads to happy, loyal customers. In turn, your contact center will see an improvement with CSAT. Removing barriers that prevent exceptional customer service will lead to a more engaged service center. I make it practice of regularly reviewing processes, policies and procedures impacting our customers and agents. As business needs change, policies should be reviewed and updated if necessary.

Employee feedback
I’ve yet to work with anyone, who enjoys denying customer requests. On the contrary, they have a desire to satisfy them. Team members have often requested that they be allowed to offer a good will credit to customers. This request was due to their willingness to go beyond good service to amazing service. They knew that random acts of kindness made customers happy.

This empowered them, and made them feel a part of the decision-making process. They had ownership! Upon implementation, we were able to see how this directly impacted customer and agent satisfaction.

Manager Buy-in
I’ve always treated my team as customers. In my opinion, showing them what great service looks like, is more impactful than telling them. When they see those fundamental service principles in their leaders, they will emulate it amongst one another and customers. Leadership must be committed to improving and should regularly attend training, seminars and conferences.

Front line supervisors, leads and managers are a great source for ideas- one of the best IMO. Allowing them freedom to develop CX initiatives will ensure they are customer focused and invested in organizational goals.

I recommend leadership review customer feedback, customer satisfaction surveys, and other Voice of Customer data, as a team. Doing so ensures everyone is aware of the group's performance, problems can be identified and discussed, and new ideas can be presented to the group.

Next Steps
Below are 4 steps you can implement immediately, to help you get closer to achieving customer service excellence.
  • Empower agents- solicit and accept feedback, and include them in the decision-making process when possible.
  • Be transparent- provide clear, honest and effective communication. Be prepared to answer the tough questions and explain why decisions are being made.
  • Be accessible- make time for your staff, walk the office spaces, and have an open door policy.
  • Be attentive- actively listen to your staff, learn more about them, and be mindful of things that are important to them.
These suggestions can be easily implemented, are quick wins, and address some core areas of customer experience. To be honest, you should currently be doing these things! With consistency, effort, and diligence, I’m convinced these steps will set you on the right path, and improve your service department. It's worth mentioning, you can't achieve and sustain a great service culture, without 1st creating a great workplace culture.

I have over 15 years of progressive customer service leadership experience in the public, private and government sectors. I have led or consulted contact centers of various sizes across numerous industries. Additionally, I’ve implemented new technology and products, while maintaining award-winning contact centers. 

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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