When people think of the term “customer service”, they often correlate it to strictly interactions between company representatives and customers. However, the concept of customer service should be a much larger piece of a company. In her recent article, Melissa Thompson says customer service needs to be a philosophy adopted by every employee within a company, from the person just starting their first day on the job to the CEO of the company. It doesn’t matter if your company serves businesses or consumers and it doesn’t matter what industry or vertical market your company serves, the idea of having a customer service philosophy should be in every department.
Thompson reminds us that every employee in every department has an influence on the customer in some way because all decisions should be based on how they will ultimately affect the customer. The customer experience is what drives loyalty to your company and is the main determining factor that makes or breaks your company’s success. This means that customer service should be respected as more than just procedures and policies; it should be a state of mind.
With the customer experience as their primary focus, companies will start to see positive results. It is not possible to avoid making decisions that customers don’t like to see (e.g., price increases) all together. However, if these decisions are made after having considered the customers and their potential reactions, the company will be able more prepared to proactively handle any potential backlash and plans to move forward. But in order to adopt this customer-centric philosophy, companies will have to move away from the conventional thought process of basing everything strictly on policies, rules and regulations.
Does this mean you should leave behind all of your policies, rules and regulations? Absolutely not, organization is crucial in running a company. However, you should be willing to give some leniency for employees to work outside the lines when it comes to helping customers. As Thompson puts it, you never want to tell a customer you can’t help them due to company policy. Call center agents and other customer service employees must be able to have the freedom and flexibility to give the ultimate customer experience.
This concept can be tricky, because you also can’t allow employees to do anything they want during a customer service interaction. So, how do you teach your employees how much leniency they have and what lines they can and can’t cross? Thompson offers us six steps for training employees and shifting your company towards a customer-centric culture. These steps include proper leadership, proper employee hiring criteria, training for customer service and other foundational techniques, giving employees freedom of choice within boundaries, education, and proper follow-up.
These steps are very helpful and can ultimately help you analyze where your company is now and what you need to do to reach your goal. To read Thompson’s original article and learn more about these steps in detail, please click the link below.
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