Here are some key ideas to make this work in practice:
Coach and Train For Success
Customers are human beings, a well trained and fully empowered group of customer care representatives reflect the truth of that. They’re able to make decisions in the interests of the business that deliver a great experience – there’s no need for a handbook or manual, it’s a matter of common sense.
Honesty and Integrity
No cheap tricks, no sleight of hand. If you have a returns policy – honor it. If you have a special promotion, tell your existing customers when they place a repeat order, don’t let them find out from another source and leave them feeling cheated. Treat people with respect and fairness, both inside the business and outside of it. If your staff work in a backstabbing, dishonest environment don’t be surprised when this carries over to the customer. In short a great place to work, delivers great benefits to customers.
Lead from The Front
This ties in with the last point. Your leaders must embody the philosophy that the customer counts. A disconnect between; “Do what I say not what I do.” is a recipe for disaster. They (your leaders) develop the culture and promote the positive business model.
If you have superstars on the phones, or on the shop floor – recognize them for it, and not with gimmicky employee of the month programs, pay them more and offer genuine career advantages like more training or flexible working arrangements.
Shout Out About Your Care
Make it easy for clients to get in touch, don’t bury your customer care number in small print. Make it a prominent addition to every piece of marketing material and branded collateral you have. Encourage unhappy customers to get in touch, don’t wait until they’ve moved to the competition and then try and win them back.
If your customers need to push 12 buttons before they talk to a person, that’s way too much. Make it easy for your clients to talk to someone as soon as they call. There’s nothing more frustrating than endless automated options and it’s better to reduce the level of upset facing an already unhappy customer.
Apply Common Sense
If you hire people you trust (and you should). Then you should trust them to do their jobs. Don’t set individual targets for call length or face-to-face time, let your people decide how much time is “enough”. Measure customer happiness and make that the basis of reviews and rewards. Then elevate the very best in front of their peers, and encourage them to meet those standards.
Building the right environment for client satisfaction is essential to win over business. It’s also the critical path to retaining that business and turning your clients into ambassadors for your brand.