Your ability to build customer service success must begin with an honest self exam of how you are doing right now. These three steps will give you a snapshot of where you are and where you need to improve in the months and years to come!

Step 1: Review Customer Service Survey Data
Survey data is critical to understanding the pulse of customer satisfaction. Often times we collect the survey data, report the statistics, and then file the survey away without ever sharing the results with front line staff or formulating a specific response to the information received.
Did you pat yourself on the back because you had a 93% satisfaction rating on your last survey? Be careful here. No customer was 93% satisfied. To get this percentage, you had many customers who were very satisfied and a few who were very dissatisfied. Look beyond the statistics to the comments recap and you will probably find the holes in your service.
When consulting on survey results, I divide customer comments into three categories: green lights, yellow lights, and red lights. The green lights are kudos you need to share with staff members who have been commended, and all others in their position or department. The yellow lights are institutional complaints which give us hints on how to improve the way in which we do business. Finally, the red lights are a critical threat to remaining a strong competitor in our industry or market. It is important to separate the comments in order to prepare for an appropriate response that will lead to significant improvement.

Front-line staff must be included in any response as they are where the rubber meets the road of service. Customer comments can and should be used in any future customer service training.

Step 2: Identify Specific Service Success and Failure Examples
Ask managers AND front line staff to identify a specific customer service success and a customer service failure that took place in the past several months which impacted the customer relationship in a positive or negative manner. Once identified, discuss how you can replicate the success for other clients and avoid the failure for future clients.

Step 3: Review Service Support Technology Needs
Whether you are a large business or a mom and pop shop, you need to keep pace with technology changes. Social media has become one of the primary avenues for receiving and responding to customer complaints. Large companies are turning to consultants to stay on the cutting edge of this technology. Small business owners can find qualified consultants in their budget and may find their least expensive and most qualified implementation guru is their teenage child! Spend time on the front end deciding what results you want and it will lead you to the strategy that will position you for success!

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Teresa Allen
Teresa Allen is a nationally recognized customer service speaker and customer service author. Teresa is owner of Common Sense Solutions, a national training and consulting firm focused on bringing common sense customer service strategies to business. Teresa is author of Common Sense Service: Close Encounters on the Front Lines and is co-author of The Service Path: Your Roadmap for Building Strong Customer Loyalty.  Teresa can be reached via her website: www.AllenSpeaks.com or by phone at 800-797-1580 or email: tallen@AllenSpeaks.com

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