This edition concludes my three-part series of how to build a customer service infrastructure within your organization. In Part I, I outlined what a customer service infrastructure is, why it’s important, and the role it plays in facilitating, supporting and sustaining a customer service strategy.
Part II introduced the first five components that make up a winning customer service infrastructure: 1) Commitment, 2) Appoint a Champion, 3) Identify you Moments of Truth, 4) Assess your policies and procedures, systems and processes, and 5) Develop meaningful metrics. Here are infrastructure components 6-10:
Customer Service Infrastructure Components:
6. Scoreboard your Metrics:
Whatever metrics you decide on, communicate them throughout the entire organization via a visible scoreboard. If your business includes retail stores, purchase one of those large white poster-boards, the kind that kids use for school projects. These white-boards can be purchased at any office supply store. A scoreboard is critical because it communicates to the employees what is important and how to achieve it.
We tell our employees to go out and win, but we tend to keep the rules of how to win and the score a secret. The bosses know what the score is. Their scoreboard is the P&L or management reports. Just like in sports, keeping score makes it more: interesting, engaging, challenging and enjoyable. Who plays golf or tennis and doesn’t keep score?
7. Training & Skill Development:
You have to prepare for victory otherwise you’re just practicing. And in today’s unforgiving marketplace practice isn’t going to cut it. The phrase: “The customer is always right” is not motivating to employees because it doesn’t tell them what to do for the customer. This phrase is more a bumper sticker than an operating principle. Training and skill development ensures your employees are prepared to succeed.
Communication is the lifeblood to any strategy. You simply cannot over communicate. Just like infrastructure component #2: Appoint a Champion, assign someone to own the communication strategy throughout your organization, from headquarters to store-level. You must drive communication throughout every corner of your organization. This will provide focus and align activities. Communicate things like:
Mystery shopper scores
What’s working/not working
Customer comments: good & bad
Areas for improvements
Customer service stories
9. Recognize & Reward:
Recognize and reward the behaviors you want to see more of. Why? Because what gets recognized and rewarded gets repeated. But be sure to only recognize and reward the right performance and behavior. And remember, recognize and reward results, not efforts. At the end of the day it’s results that matter.
10. Celebrate Success:
Consistently delivering a great customer buying experience is hard. If it were easy, great customer service would be the norm not the exception. And if you think being a frontline employee is easy, then takeover their job for a day. I’m confident you’ll walk away with a much greater appreciation of what your frontline employees go through on a daily basis. When goals are achieved and good things happen, make the time to enjoy and celebrate the moment with your employees that made it happen. After all, life’s too short not to, right?
Keys To Success:
In addition to the 10-infrastrucute components I’ve outlined, you’ll need to possess: patience, discipline and a laser-like focus to succeed. A customer service strategy takes time to see results. So have patience and the discipline of staying power to not abandon your customer service strategy midstream.