When we talk to our customers it’s often clear that a key strength they seek to develop in their customer service teams is an innate ability to take ownership and be truly accountable for their actions and overall service outcomes. They recognise there is an opportunity to empower their teams with the right mindset and tools to take full responsibility for their roles and interactions with customers and colleagues – understanding the importance of every person being skilled in the ability to respond appropriately so that they can deliver outstanding service and outcomes every time.
A starting point for deeper analysis
When we look more closely at what it takes to provide a truly efficient and professional customer-focused business that delivers on customer satisfaction and retention, it’s important to consider every aspect of the customer service offering, including environment, policy and processes. While there are several key aspects that combine to affect excellent customer delivery, your people are at the heart of everything that is achieved across all customer service, so it’s important to involve them when planning improvements and to focus any training and personal development programmes at the sharp end to increase everyone’s ability to respond well.
The diagnostic process
The first aspect of any process to effect positive change is to help leadership and service teams to understand and visualise what excellent customer service looks like, and how everyone within an organisation should operate in order to achieve it on a consistent basis. Everyone on every team should understand the key components for building a truly customer-focused organisation and the unique role they play within this and be equipped with the skills and resources to enable them to respond well in every situation.
There are certain key questions to ask and consider:
- Is this organisation customer-focused?
- What does this look like?
- What are the essential elements required for everyone to deliver outstanding levels of customer satisfaction and retention?
- How do we measure the extent to which we are customer-focused and take the necessary steps to increase and develop it further?
A thorough evaluation of your company’s strengths and weaknesses can lead to successful interventions and positive changes, creating a happier, more productive workforce who are empowered with increased confidence and capability and therefore the ability to respond well.
Here at MGI we work closely with companies to focus on varying aspects of twelve key components for building a successful, customer-focused organisation with empowered teams using strategies that have been developed over many years and encapsulated into our unique Mindset, Language and Actions Toolkit. Here is a brief overview of these components:
This element drives all the others, and covers the company’s values, mission and purpose which should be reflected in everything everyone thinks, feels, says and does – and a source of continuing inspiration to which everyone should refer for guidance. It is interesting that in our experience, some organisations still fail to have the customer prominent in their organisational strategy with an out of balance focus on the organisation with an absence of reference to the customer.
Building on the customer orientation of your strategy is the operational customer focus. This is a baseline for how well your company interacts with its customers, and more specifically, your people’s ability to really listen to and understand each customer’s needs. Every person should be equipped with the skills to really listen with respect, and to understand the ways in which customers want to be treated personally by customer service staff.
How well organised is your company, and how easy is it for customers to do business with you and find what they are looking for? How able are your teams to provide choices and options; are they solution-focused? As well as great interpersonal skills, it’s essential to have the right processes and systems in place for maximum efficiency so that teams can provide outstanding customer service.
How convenient is it for customers to get excellent levels of service, and how efficient and cost-effective is it for your teams to deliver that service? Having simple, open, honest, flexible and efficient delivery processes will maximise your teams’ chances of giving the customer what they really want.
The style and delivery of leadership teams shapes the culture and levels of overall job satisfaction for everyone within the company. Respect and inclusion are key to optimum levels of motivation and productivity while building strong relationships and high trust cultures where everyone can thrive. Continuous clear communication is vital from the top down to ensure everyone is empowered to be decision-makers at the highest level that’s relevant to their role.
Having clear processes in place to measure service efficiency and customer satisfaction will ensure consistency and encourage every member of the team to aspire to excel in their roles. Having the tools and resources to hand will ensure that people are able to respond positively to every situation, including all feedback – knowing how to use it to improve, develop and grow.
Training and Development
When a company fosters an ongoing commitment to high quality training, coaching and mentoring, it empowers its people with exceptional, tailored interpersonal skills to enable them to perform with confidence and capability, and to respond effectively whatever comes their way.
Exploring and understanding how effectively your people operate and behave within their teams and across teams is an essential, ongoing requirement to ensure you create and maintain productive, motivated and happy teams who can take ownership and responsibility for their roles and be the difference that ensures success. Teams that are continually striving to build strong relationships are also empowered with the confidence to respond to the best of their abilities to every situation that arises, however challenging.
Does your company have strategies in place to inform and help customers to know what you deliver, how they can gain the maximum benefit from your products and services, and how customers themselves can be more of a partner and make it easier for your people to serve them better? When we can work in partnership with our customers and colleagues, we greatly increase the chances of success and a warm glow of satisfaction all round.
There are many ways in which our environment affects our ability to provide excellence by making it easier to deliver fast, accurate and satisfying service to customers so that your people can also find the process more enjoyable and less stressful. There is a renewed focus on people’s working environment right now with the need to create hybrid working practices, or adapt working environments to be suitable for the current challenges of Covid.
Communications – Internal and External
Having excellent, positive and consistent communications with colleagues, customers, suppliers and all stakeholders is key to successful daily operations across all levels of a company – and vital to providing outstanding outcomes and the ability to respond well. All communications should start on the positive and reflect the company’s overall values and your people’s commitment to providing superb relations with everyone they encounter.
When we take the time and effort to explore these components in depth with a clear vision for improvement, it is likely we will need to create detailed change strategies to address weaknesses and build on existing strengths. By addressing each in turn and having plans for improvement, we will ultimately create a foundation for success by empowering our people with everything they need to respond with confidence and capability to every situation that comes their way and deliver excellent service experiences.
At the centre of all these components are our people and it is through their interactions that customers experience our customer focus. When the organisational strategy, policies, processes and environment is truly customer-focused, and people are supported with the best training to develop the skills to demonstrate this customer-focus to others, our people’s responsiveness to customers increases. They will experience less stress in their interactions and find more personal satisfaction as they feel more important and valued. In turn, customers are reassured and confident of excellent outcomes through teams who are empowered with a ‘can do’, solution-focused mindset underpinned by the support and resources necessary to enable them to respond well, every time.
How can we help?
Our Mindset, Language & Actions Toolkit can equip your people with the skills they need to be truly customer-focused. Find out more or book a chat with us today to see how we can help your organisation.