Since 2010, I have helped small, medium, and large businesses develop customer service strategies that moved the needle in their businesses. Collaborating with them, we created plans, programs, and processes that drove extraordinary improvements in customer service that trickled down to their bottom line. Your customers can be blinded by delight by your employees’ customer service performance if you succeed in just a few areas.
If it is Not an Effortless Experience for Your Customers’, it is an Opportunity for Your Competitors
Memorable customer service, for your newest, or oldest customer, is for them, an effortless experience. The rallying cry of exceeding customer expectations makes for a great slogan on the t-shirts gifted to employees. Unfortunately, identifying, clarifying, and delivering this at a consistent and sustainable level is akin to expecting the NY Jets to be in the 2023 Super Bowl. A hallucination. Whether delivered thru today’s “kill me now” voice response systems, or by telephone, or face-to-face customer-to-employee interactions, it is the effortless experience that turns customers into raving fans. And, at the heart of the effortless experience is FCR.
FCR-First Contact Resolution
I think you will agree with my observation that patience these days is in short supply. So many activities in our lives can now be commenced and completed in a fast and effortless manner. When organizations fail to give their front-line customer service personnel the skills and latitude to manage and resolve both minor hiccups and complex problems in the service area, a first contact resolution outcome is impossible. If John’s employee badge reads, Customer Service Associate, then I expect that he has this role in its entirety. If his badge reads, Customer Service Associate-But Only Certain Things, I would not.
Whether you have a bunch of eighteen-year old’s or forty-year old’s working for you, prepare them to perform their roles in their entirety. At these ages they can drive cars and serve in the Armed Forces. So why not trust them to perform their jobs in the best interest of your company, restaurant, or retail store? Yes, they will make mistakes. But they will also take personal initiative, go the extra-mile, and TAKE PRIDE in delivering extraordinary service.
Reward and Take Care of Your Service Team
It is 4:00 p.m. and Kevin has dealt with Belligerent Customer #27. He is burnt to a crisp and is already thinking about calling in sick tomorrow. There are lots of other jobs that would pay him the same, if not more. There is a boss out there who unlike his current one, will make the time to recognize his performance and contributions and make him know how much he is appreciated. If it were not for the friendships he has made with his co-workers, he would have already changed jobs.
So many of the companies I have helped build extraordinary service cultures needed to make significant improvements in what I call “the care and feeding” of their service teams. They seldom missed doing this with their top sales professionals, but they neglected their service team. When I would dig deep into the cause, the hurdle was always, “Don, I simply do not have the time.” This always struck me as odd because somehow, they found the time to interview replacements when their thoroughbred-like customer service associates finally walked out in disgust.
By creating an effortless experience service culture and rewarding, nurturing, and appreciating those employees who deliver it, you will create a competitive advantage that cannot be duplicated. If you give your customer service team a reason to go the extra-mile then they will not jump off the exit ramp when the traffic is horrendous. Good luck to all in creating an extraordinary customer service culture!