How to make customer service a priority

In most organizations there is at least one person who believes in the importance of delivering Amazing customer service. But for it to work, it takes a whole team. So a customer service champion needs to get others on the team to make it a priority.

There are a couple ways to do this. The two I like best are fundamental, not overly complicated. I call the first one: “Show me the money!”

This goal here is simple. Connect better service to return on investment (ROI). Show people how improving service to customers can lead to better retention, increased repeat business and more referrals. The better you can make the business case, the more the numbers-driven people will buy in. And if you get the “numbers” people on your side, that’s a big plus.

Here’s an example.

A retail store manager measures both customer service and repeat business for a period of time. He sees a link and then documents it enough to make it real to the higher level people. He didn’t even have to show a specific ROI. The corporate management people did that. All the store manager had to do what prove the link between their better service and more customers coming back.

You could do the same thing with referrals which makes a strong case because it’s new business. Then you get support from sales and marketing because they love new business.

A second method is to appeal to their ego.

We know when you do a better job serving your customers, you improve the overall quality of your organization. You have to, or any gains from customer service improvement will not last. So, connect customer service to quality. Then piggy back on existing quality measures the company uses.

Here’s an example where this worked very well.

A franchise business historically scored very low on the annual metrics used by the franchisor. And their model benefitted greatly from customer referrals. So the sales manager worked with the operations manager to tie their customer’s experience (through direct feedback) with the operations review done every year by the franchisor. They both saw how interconnected these two were. This helped motivate the operations manager to drive improvements that would help them score better on the annual review. While the sales manager made sure these improvements gave their customers a better experience.

The result was better service for customers, which drove more referrals. And the company scored better on their annual review with the franchisor.

Amazing customer service is a team sport. It takes everyone on the team to be committed to delivering a great experience to their customers. And when it happens, everyone wins!

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz