Providing great client service is a claim that nearly every business makes. However, being able to provide that great service, versus just promising it, is dependent on a number of things being in place.
It begins with a definition of what great service means to your company, which depends on what you want your customers to experience every time they have an interaction with your organization, which depends on… well… let’s just take a closer look at how this works.
Defining the company
Purpose| Starting from the top, the purpose of your business must be clearly defined so everyone knows why he or she works so hard every day. What goals are their efforts intended to achieve?
If it’s just to put more money in the owner’s pocket, it’s not a very good motivator for treating clients well or understanding what to help them with beyond selling them a product or answering their basic questions.
If it’s to help clients solve their specific problems, that’s a different story. Knowing that your goal is to help clients achieve their goals allows your team to proactively make suggestions toward that end.
Values| Next, the organizational values must be clearly defined. Values are used to help shape and direct behaviors. When the values are known, everyone can use consistent ideas in treating clients and making decisions. Without defined values, everyone is left to use their own set of decision-making criteria, which might not produce the results your company wants or expects.
Culture| Everyone needs to clearly understand the cultural expectations of the company, and leadership needs to actively reinforce them. It’s important to promote and reward appropriate behaviors as well as reprimand ones that don’t reinforce the cultural expectations. Without this, the culture becomes a fractured grouping of behaviors and doesn’t promote consistency across the organization.
Some say you can’t define a culture, that it just develops naturally. To some degree, this is true. Culture is a naturally developing personality of any organization. That said, clear expectations should be firmly in place as guide rails for good, consistent decision-making and behaviors.
Customer Experience| After you have your company values and behaviors defined, describe what you want a client/customer to experience when they interact with your organization. In order to deliver great service, you and your team must know what your definition of “great” is.
Processes| Determine what processes and procedures must be in place to deliver on your company purpose and client experience. This means having the right people performing in roles that play to their strengths. They need to be given responsibility and authority to make decisions and deliver on good service.
Having defined your purpose, values, culture, and client experience, the team should be well equipped now to deliver consistent service that reflects the best intentions of your company.
Follow through on the details
Skill Gaps| Once you’ve determined what the roles are to effectively deliver on the service you’ve defined, there will be some training gaps to fill in. Maybe it’s technical skills, new content skills, proficiency of tools, or even good personal relations. Consistency in training will help reinforce those key, consistent behaviors needed to deliver on your promises.
Communication| Leadership must regularly communicate and reinforce the organizational purpose, values, and expected behaviors. Using multiple forms of communication is important, but even more so is demonstrating it through behaviors and actions.
And as you create these collective definitions, be sure to take an honest assessment of where your customer service is today. Is everyone in the business actively working to “Wow!” clients and make them exceptionally happy? Or is it a more reactionary culture that focuses more on answering client questions, meeting minimum expectations, or putting out fires?
Without clear company definitions and ongoing communication so everyone on staff knows and understands them, any claims of “great service” are sitting on uncertain ground.
Based on individual life experiences, everyone has his or her own ideas of what good, best, and exceptional look like. Don’t leave the success of your company up to chance by simply hoping your definitions match those of each of your staff members. The clearer you make it, the happier everyone will be.
Including your clients.
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