When it Comes to Customer Service, Think Big and Broad

Everyone seems to be talking customer experience these days, and lots of companies try to improve their customer’s experience by implementing incremental changes in the customer service organization.  But after years of working in and with customer support organizations, I have seen that incremental often doesn’t cut it.  A tweaked script really isn’t going to change things!

The April issue of The Harvard Business Review had an insightful article about how to revolutionize customer service, by making some significant cultural changes.  They recommend getting rid of 4 common practices:

  1. Don’t start with agents, start with the people who support them.  The front-line folks usually already know how important satisfied customers are. Often the problems come from things not working well in other parts of the organization, so focus on internal service providers and include them in customer service training.
  2. Don’t focus on training to specific skills or scripts, give agents a broader area to work within that is focused on “service excellence”.  If top management empowers the agents to make the right decisions for the customers, good things happen!
  3. Don’t pilot changes, be aggressive.  To really make an impact, “go big and go fast”.  It shows you are serious if change is swift and rolled out across the organization.  Often this sort of change occurs when there is a major leadership change, but you don’t have to wait for that to happen!
  4. Don’t track traditional metrics, focus on how many value-added service ideas are put into practice.  That doesn’t mean you stop tracking net- promoter scores and the like, it just means that for some period of time you get your team excited about something that they can truly see an impact on.

Customer experience is more important than ever, with more choice in a number of industries and with customers more easily sharing the good and the bad through social media.  So when it comes to customer service, think bigger and broader!

Check out the full article here:  https://hbr.org/2016/04/revolutionizing-customer-service

Anne Bakstad

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