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Published on 09 November 2017

Empowering to deliver excellent Customer Experience

Every one of our customer service colleagues has the potential to be an expert in customer service experience improvement, to help provide insight in to why our customers are contacting us and to shape what we could do about reducing all negative contact drivers.
Ultimately, they have the potential to help shape company strategic vision and deliver it through tactical implementation. Only by empowering our staff, engaging with them and showing them through word and action that they are being listened to can we hope to tap in to this wealth of information. Here are some of my ideas on how to help empower our customer service colleagues:
  1. Engage with the experts. Only by understanding our colleagues point of view can we understand how to control risk, maximise efficiency or educate on new ways of working without damaging customer service. All too often we focus on how we can establish robust controls, ensure credible audit results or build comprehensive e-learning. None of this helps those who talk to our customers if they don’t understand it. A feedback loop that encourages and highlights issues and resolutions is an effective way of driving engagement and reducing the issue of losing the all-important customer service perspective.
  2. Provide frameworks that support instead of control. We can’t really expect our colleagues to treat customers as individuals if they feel like a part within a machine. Management and systems hierarchies should exist to support our front-line colleagues as individuals, not label them as FTE with spans of control. Build the processes, tools and techniques with their help that give them the understanding of why they do what they do, when and how they should do it and the impact to our customer of what happens if they don’t. Give our colleagues the freedom to set their own targets and stretch goals, to build their career and to give input to company strategy and issue resolution. By giving them freedom and the ability to make decisions they in turn can be confident helping our customers and dealing with any issues without the need to escalate.
  3. Celebrate, Reward, Recognise If a colleague gets something wrong, well they’re human and it happens. We should work with them to understand how we can ensure its unlikely to happen again. Celebrate when they have understood the issue and worked to resolve it. Reward exemplary behaviour and outstanding customer feedback with opportunities to showcase the behaviours we want to encourage, maybe with added responsibility or even cold hard cash! Tailoring the reward to the individual can often mean more, something as simple as a thank you from a senior manager to that colleague can be enough to encourage them to build habits that deliver best possible customer experience.

These aren’t all easy to do, but they are worthwhile. Holding our nerve when firefighting or being asked to look at cost savings and ensuring that we continue to deliver the same support and engagement throughout shows that we trust our colleagues. This trust is what we can then convert in to the mechanism that provides a rich source of feedback. It can be used to develop a powerful Continuous Improvement system, aligning customer satisfaction scores, complaints data to colleague input allowing us to find and focus on reducing or removing customer experience detractors.

Take a look at our website to find out more!

Author: Pete Dunn, Former Customer Contact Specialist, The Forum

Date Published: 09/11/2017

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