The delivery of an excellent customer service which exceeds expectations must be the ultimate goal of your business who engage with individuals on a daily basis. Service Excellence is about making each customer interaction meaningful, it is about making customers smile. Do this and the chances of retaining existing customers whilst attracting new ones are increased. Is this another business buzzword or can Service Excellence become a reality?
A Shared Goal
Everyone must know what they are aiming for and how their contribution fits the overall goal. Businesses are made up of individuals carrying out a variety of roles. Each has an important part to play. The person delivering the internal mail is as important as the person answering the telephone, The team meeting is as important as the board meeting.
Values and Standards
Business values, such as ‘communicating effectively’ or ‘working as a team’ inform people about what behaviors are important and help everyone to work towards the shared goal. This is important as people often focus more on what they are doing rather than how they are doing it. The most efficient person on the team may be great at hitting deadlines, but if everything they do is with a bad temper and offends colleagues then Service Excellence is not achieved.
Standards detailing how the service will be provided to the customer can help, they can be communicated to:
- Inform customers of the level of service they can expect from the business
- Inform staff of the level of service expected from them and can help staff respond effectively to customer requirements
- Help the business measure how it is performing.
External and internal customers
What does the person behind the scenes in the IT department have to do with Service Excellence? Why should the administrative staff care about their impact on the people they never see? Internal customers are a key part of the service process and the same standards and measurements businesses use to engage with external customers should also apply.
Focus on feedback
It is important to give the customer a way to express their thoughts and opinions. Businesses should view feedback as an opportunity by utilizing comments to help make better business decisions. Internal customers can be given feedback through formal channels such as employee reviews, team meetings, team newsletters. Make time for informal feedback such as saying thank you, taking the time to congratulate or talking through a difficult customer interaction.
Key questions to ask internal and external customers:
- What did you like?
- What could have been better?
- What suggestions do you have?
- Would you recommend us and why?
True Service Excellence is about more than single customer interactions. It is about a shared goal that runs through the heart and soul of the business so it is no longer a goal or an aspiration; it’s just the way things are done.