If your business engages with individuals on a daily basis the delivery of an excellent customer service which exceeds expectations must be the ultimate goal.
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
Businesses are made up of individuals carrying out various roles.
Each has an important part to play.
Everyone must know what they are aiming for and how their contribution fits the goal.
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, including ‘communicating effectively’ or ‘working as a team', inform people about what behaviors are important and help everyone work towards the shared goal.
This is important, as people often focus more on what they are doing than how they are doing it. The most efficient person on the team may be adept 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 performs.
External and internal customers
What does the person behind the scenes in the IT department do with Service Excellence?
Why should the administrative staff care about their impact on the people they never meet?
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! Utilize comments to help make better business decisions.
"Internal customers" can be given feedback through formal channels, including employee reviews, team meetings, team newsletters. Make time for informal feedback, including saying thank you, taking the time to congratulate or talking through a demanding 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.