Your people ARE your most important asset! They determine the customer experience. If it's good you win, if it's poor you lose. It's really that simple.
When a problem call is made, for example, the customer support representative becomes the customer's primary service provider. From that time on, that staff member becomes the Company for that customer - that customer will judge the value of doing business with you by the experience they have with that customer support representative.
In this instance, the customer support representative is the Company's most important resource. The same can be said of operations staff that build and deliver the products and services that you provide to your customers. Virtually every staff member determines how stakeholders respond to the Company in the marketplace. They become the Company when they "touch" the customer.
Want to fix things and begin to act like your people are your most important asset? Here are some things that you'll need to be prepared to do:
1. Your future vision must be fully developed, and future service delivery goals and objectives must be communicated to audiences at all levels of the organization. All staff members must clearly understand their role in the delivery of exceptional service.
2. An upside-down view of the organization must be adopted, where customers are at the top, those who work with customers are next and those who work to support those who work with customers are at subsequent rungs. Guess what? You're on the bottom, servant leader!
3. Your Company must evaluate the current level of customer service and satisfaction. Programs must be developed which identify industry "next practices" to be used within the Company. These programs must incorporate measurement and feedback systems that continually monitor the "customer experience".
4. Service levels between internal customers must be identified and improved with a focus on the common objective of superior service to external customers.
5. New ways of measuring and rewarding employee performance will be required in order to motivate front-line personnel and achieve peak performance.
6. Awareness programs must be put into place to help educate staff regarding this shift in prerogative and to let them know what is expected of them in the new work environment.
7. The management team must promote this culture shift through its actions and be prepared to actively manage the firm's through this transition (they provide leadership, are ambassadors of change, but, are in support of the staff that serves the customer-base).
8. Finally, strategies for service delivery cannot be built on foundations of sand. The Company must continue to evolve and strengthen the structural underpinnings of its business - forging a work environment where "watertight service" carries true meaning to staff and stakeholders, alike.
To close, every Company must place ardent focus on customer service as a means of maintaining its competitive position in the marketplace. That said, a firm's service delivery model must evolve and improve the ways in which customers are supported. Failure to do so may threaten the very survival of the Company
Indeed, we must focus our attention on deploying all of our internal resources (i.e., people, process, and technology) on creating a corporate culture that defines success through the efficient delivery of impeccable service to our stakeholder community. Service delivery is the "table stakes" required to continue to play in the game. It's your people that will determine if your customers come back for more or seek a better experience elsewhere. Reach out to me if you'd like more insight on this essential topic.