Customer Service is not contained to Customer Service Teams.
You’ve heard of the saying that customer service is an attitude not a department right? Why is it that many companies forget this?
One of the problems is that they have a customer service team who need to interact with other departments that in some way form part of the customer experience, but these departments do not feel that their roles actually support the sales function or in any way have anything to do with the customer. The departments could be Buying & Procurement, Implementation, Accounts & Finance, Marketing, Ad Production or Ad Ops as examples.
When sales people sell their services to new clients, the client will expect or even demand excellence and when this falls short it is often sales that pick up the pieces. These pieces can be a result of the supporting departments being under resourced, or that they have teams who are strict 9-5ers who will not work any additional time unless they something in return, or that there is no service level agreement in place with the client.
If your business boasts exceptional customer service, then prove it. Show what you can do, demonstrate what you offer when things go wrong, get testimonials substantiating your claims, otherwise you are just offering empty words.
It also goes without saying, that if your non-sales and non-customer service teams are not delivering, then the costs are huge.
- The cost of compensating the client.
- The cost of losing the contract all the together when the client cancels.
- The cost of losing the client completely as they do not want to work with you.
- The cost of what that client is then telling other clients and potential clients about your service levels.
- The cost of your reputation in your industry not only for trading but also for recruiting new members of staff.
- The effect of having to drop your prices just to win any business due your poor reputation, impacting your profits.
- The real threat of having to lay off members of staff who ultimately will have nothing to do because your business cannot sell to anyone.
Help is at hand.
- Always recruit people who understand and have a client first mindset, even if their role is directly liaising with the client. By ensuring this mindset is in place prevents it from becoming an issue when things arise.
- Recruit for resilience too. There are going to be times when clients put pressure on your business, make sure you have people in place who are responsive to pressure and able to flex with demands. A team of snowflakes will melt in the heat of business.
- Service level agreements support claims and manage expectations. If you have a 95% call out rating for your clients, say so. BUT if you fall short of this with a client, have something in place that says for every X% under that we will compensate you the same % as a rebate. By direct contrast what happens if you go over 95%?
- Using the metric above think about internally challenging your teams to be their own efficiency. For every X% over they will be rewarded. It could be an annual team bonus, or incentive that is month by month. It keeps a focused mindset on the client and the service you offer.
Remember a client can fire any member of staff from the cleaner to the CEO just by choosing to go elsewhere.
Customer service is an attitude not a department. Skill up everyone in your business to have a customer first mindset.
Thank you for reading this blog forms part of the SerialTrainer7 Customer Service Academy. If we can help support your teams with effective customer service skills then get in touch with me Simon@serialtrainer7.com.