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Long term planning to ensure Customer Service proficiency

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Leaving behind pride, misplaced priorities, short-term profit orientation and the failure to understand the reality of today’s competitive service economy will help service strategies get the attention they deserve.

Obtaining positive results

The Customer Service department will have the results you want once you develop a long-term strategy for it, for the customer’s needs.

Even if customer service structures and tools are in place today, they’ll likely need to be different tomorrow. Customer service isn’t a perennial policy that lasts forever.

Instead, managers should view customer service as a long-term strategy, since it pays off to think about the future and not the present. This requires commitment on behalf of the managers and enthusiasm from the employees, maintained over a long period, so that an outstanding service can make a name for itself.

The short-term approach to any customer is not service. Service is service, at the end of the day.

The better thing to do is develop a service strategy, so that you know exactly which customers you want to serve and figuring out what kind of service will yield the best financial rewards for you.

A strategy must be developed and implemented through impartial analysis, intense concentration and commitment — along with serious spending and a thorough management of skilled employees.

Begin by analyzing these factors:

  1. All of your policies and procedures — they must be customer-oriented.
  2. Your work flow — it should promote a reliable delivery of customer orders.
  3. The company’s capability to react to unexpected events— create a contingency plan that ensures service to customers will continue uninterrupted when the computer blows up.
  4. Customer wants and needs — they must be considered at every step.

customer

The goal should be to create a customer service program that’s well established in the culture of the company, making it a long term commitment to better serve your clients.

E-mails may not be the newest or flashiest communication channel out there, but you can’t deny they’ve got sticking power. There are more than 4 billion e-mail accounts in the world, outpacing newer channels, like social media platforms, by more than 2 billion.

When you look at e-mails in business, research from Dimension Data, an information technology company, found that more than 90% of contact centers offer e-mail-based support. What’s more, 70% of customers prefer e-mail as a means of communicating with companies, greatly surpassing every other channel in the survey.

Why? Because using an e-mail reply system for customer service gives you:

  • Well-targeted customer communications
  • Timely company responses
  • An automatic record of the conversations
  • Easy integration with support software
  • Additional updates and special offers

The e-mail is a popular means of communication, but companies can’t rely on e-mail alone for customer service. That’s because customers are now using more channels than ever to contact customer services, and they demand service that is omnipresent.

In fact, three out of four customers use at least three different channels to contact customer service, and more than 85% of customers think brands need to do a better job at providing service across channels.

customer

Let’s put up here 3 effective, long-term customer service strategies that are in fact more than business initiatives; they’re attitudes that should be taken by and celebrated throughout the organization.

  1. Service as a product

Most buyers don’t have the technical knowledge to make the best choices when they’re purchasing products – most of the times. They want you to reassure them that support and service will be available if problems arise. So make sure that assistance as another deliverable service you offer, one that has real value.

  1. The customer is in charge

This is more than a message; it’s grounded in the very core of the company.

You already know that, so you can use this phrase as a slogan, so that the mission of the customer service department is to retain and to encourage increased business from customers by efficiently satisfying their needs with respect to ordering, shipping, invoicing, handling claims and adjustments, and responding to inquiries, complaints, and related activities.

  1. Strive for reliability
Reliability means consistent performance that meets the expectations of all your customers all the time. Admittedly, this is ideal. But a superior service program will come very close to achieving the ideal.

Don’t forget to empower your employees

Showing employees that you appreciate them is especially important for start-up companies, because, let’s face it, you don’t have very many of them. Today’s leading small businesses are making it a priority to ensure they’re supporting and engaging their talent pool, especially for customer-related roles, where employees are the face of the brand. And employees agree with this view.

With 49% of small business service teams reporting that employee retention and satisfaction are extremely important to them, it’s a no-brainer for small businesses to invest in the people who will be on the front lines, communicating with and engaging customers.

Companies often throw up roadblocks, complicating approval processes, sales initiatives, the scripts that dictate customer communication and this blocks your employees from exercising judgment and doing the right thing.

It’s very important to examine and mend any process that gets in the way of employee performance. Even in companies that are not particularly customer-focused, most employees believe in providing excellent service. Therefore, a company should instead offer guidelines that allow for flexible and situationally appropriate actions to solve customer problems.

Companies that view service through a single lens — that of customer complaints—are missing the bigger, long-term picture. Service isn’t just a game plan to satisfy unhappy customers; it’s an ongoing strategy that makes every interaction, between every employee and customer, at every contact point, a positive one.

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The KPI Institute’s partnership with Palermo University at the Performance Management Spring School
A Malaysian Story: the Balanced Scorecard and Health Service
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