Thursday, June 29, 2006

Planning for Good Customer Service

To keep in the theme of my last post let me do a little drilldown to the area of customer service. Typically to me customer service is no more than a business doing what it has to do to close the deal. You need a smile and a good morning for someone to buy your product that's what you do and no more, if you need to add a clerk to help the decision process ok but no more. Little is ever done beyond what is thought to be the necessary to secure the deal.

That is old school and that is about as old school as you can get in concept. In today's new customer driven markets that approach isn't working very well and it is frustrating the consumer/customer/client to levels where they are starting to take their revenge. How? Well blogging and word of mouth campaigns are one way, and they are getting creative in finding new ones. Today businesses need a total customer experience that involves the customer and the employee.

Why wait for the customer to get to the point of frustration over your lack of response to often simple areas of concern, the customers concern? A simple little planning can change the direction of your customer initiative and make your business even more profitable. Businesses that are sensitive to the customer and the resulting experience they have while doing business will rule the competitive markets. Today's companies need to be responsive customer sensitive and relationship based. Small businesses are not an exception to this and face the same issues as the big boys.

What's needed is a culture switch. Planning to be successful can start with something as establishing a customer service policy and then creating a simple training program to teach your employees or managed underlings the value of the policies. Less than 3% of the existing businesses in the US and Canada have anything resembling a policy and in Asia it is basically non-existent.

Planning doesn’t have to be complicated or take a taskforce to establish a simple but effective customer policy to guide your business or department. Most can be completed in one session of an hour or two. These policies should be dynamic and responsive to your customers as you try to meet their needs. In other words they can change or be added to to sustain a good customer balanced business. Have fun, but take it serious.

If you need more information on customer service or the customer experience check out the
Customer Development Center

As always we invite your comments.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

Excellent post, Tim. Every business needs a plan for customer service. That's different than a policy. Every employee should be trained, and know how much latitude they have to resolve customer service complaints. Next, provide rewards and recognition to those who offer legendary customer service. Evaluate your plan on a regular basis. That should include feedback from employees and customers.

Raise the customer service bar!