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There is a book written by John Guaspari titled: “I Know It When I See It – A Modern Fable about Quality.” If I were to write a book on customer service today, it could be called “I Know It When I Feel It – A Modern Fable about Service.” There is an emotional connection associated with experiencing either poor or great customer service. People remember how you treated them and how you made them feel.

Just like in Quality, there is a ripple effect. “Garbage-in, garbage-out” use to be the catch phrase that was used in manufacturing companies. How could you have a quality output if the inputs were junk? Same goes for Service. It is very difficult to deliver great service to the external customer if the internal customer service is not good; for example, unanswered emails, lack of timely voice mail follow-up, incomplete or wrong information, etc. Therefore, it takes a culture of customer service that starts with the employees themselves engraining service excellence into the organization’s internal processes and systems.

In my book “Unleashing Excellence – The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service” there are eight actions leaders must develop, educate, and implement within the organizational culture to create and sustain consistent excellent external service. These eight actions are:

• Develop a Service Philosophy and Service Standards for a common vision and defined expectations of behavior
• Communicate the importance of delivering excellent service on a personal level and constantly
• Interview and Select employees that are customer service-oriented
• Design an Orientation that builds Pride in the organization and tie all future training sessions back to the Service Standards
• Recognize employees by catching them doing things right and living the Service Philosophy and Service Standards
• Measure those things that identify opportunities to improve the current service levels
• Create a Service Obstacle System to remove barriers to delivering excellent service
• Hold managers accountable to coach and counsel employees on how to deliver great service and be a role model themselves

A culture is defined as how a group of people do what they do. A culture of customer service is defined by how employees treat each other and how they make customers feel. It is usually evident within the first five minutes of interaction with any employee of the organization. Because a culture is a way of life, if it is a culture of service excellence, delivering great service becomes second nature. And people remember when they leave a business feeling processed or feeling valued!

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