20 Quality Customer Service Practices
Two months ago I wrote about Service Statesmanship, giving the two key aspects of this managerial attribute as:
- A Service Statesman is a role model, constantly reinforcing the organization’s key service messages and service values.
- A Service Statesman is seen by staff as constantly engaged and interested in improving service delivery.
I followed this last month with a list of 20 Service Excellence Management Practices that each of you can implement, modify, and adapt to lead your business unit or your organization to higher levels of excellent customer service delivery.
Thus, I thought I would share with you 20 Quality Service Practices that any Service Statesman, from a department or business unit manager to the CEO, can and should instill in the individuals within their organization:
- You make customers aware of the options available, including advantages and disadvantages of each.
- You respond to customers’ needs in a timely and effective way.
- You keep customers involved as you serve them.
- You work with customers to completely define their requirements.
- You are clear with customers around service issues (e.g. costs, results, options).
- You exhibit flexibility in making whatever adaptations are necessary to enhance working relationships with customers.
- In proposing solutions to customers, you clearly link the solutions with the customer’s business or personal objectives.
- You are flexible in adapting solutions to customer needs and desires.
- You let the customer know exactly what is being done and why.
- You help customers clarify and prioritize their needs.
- You keep customers updated on the status of work.
- You do what is best for the customer, rather than what is best for your own function, when there is a conflict between these two.
- You encourage customers to give you feedback on your performance.
- You pay close attention to small details that make a difference to customers.
- You ask what they expect from you when problems occur.
- You are committed to providing excellent service.
- When a customer experiences a problem, you follow up to see if it has been resolved.
- If you cannot help a customer, you are able to refer them to someone else for help.
- You will go out of your way to solve a customer need or problem that is out of the ordinary or that requires extra effort.
- You will treat your colleagues and peers as internal customers worthy of the same respect, treatment, and concern as you would give to external customers.
In reviewing how Qantas handled my personal situation 10 days ago, I can spot how several of the above practices were put into action (particularly numbers 6, 8, 9, and 14).
Outstanding customer service appears to be ingrained in numerous organizations, and woefully lacking in others. Those who get this right are the ones who have no trouble keeping good customers and getting these to return time and time again.
Those who do not implement these 20 Quality Service Practices in a consistent manner are the ones with high customer attrition rates and high employee turnover levels.
If you want to be a true Service Statesman in your organization, you can lead by example and reinforce the importance of constantly improving service delivery by inculcating these 20 Quality Customer Service Practices into your business unit.
KEY POINT: outstanding customer service delivery is ingrained in organizations that implement the 20 Quality Customer Service Practices in a consistent manner.
TAKING ACTION: select four of the 20 practices found in this week’s Monday Morning Marketing Memo that you would like your organization to start using. For each practice selected, list 3-4 things that you could start doing this week to implement these practices.
Review your policies and procedures. Which ones enable your staff to consistently deliver quality customer service? Which ones hinder them in pursuit of delivering excellent customer service consistently? How can the latter ones be amended and changed?
Review your agenda for your last staff meeting. What percentage of the meeting was planned for customer service discussions? For your next 4-5 staff meetings, make sure that customer service is the dominant item on each agenda. Then your staff will know how serious you truly are about this topic.
This article is partially excerpted from our book The Best of the Monday Morning Marketing Memo, available at Amazon in paperback ($13.88) and Kindle ($3.88) formats.