Given the status of social media as the ultimate lie detector (via reviews, ratings, reports, and forums) and the growing importance of personal word-of-mouth, achieving and maintaining excellent customer service is much more than a “thing”. That’s all.
A commitment to customer service excellence must permeate every service, product, department, employee, supplier and all other stakeholders. While a lofty goal, this overarching mandate has become today’s expectation and tomorrow’s ongoing commitment. As a digital label printer, we live this mandate every day.
That said, there are myriad ways to achieve customer service excellence. Here are a few ways that might not immediately come to mind:
1. Help customers realize their business dreams. The goal is more than meeting expectations. It’s about helping businesses realize their most cherished aspirations. When words like “agile”, “incredible”, “efficient”, “integral part of our business” and “light years ahead of the competition” appear in a supplier’s performance evaluation, that makes dream. This is done by reliably delivering a quality product on time, the first time, with superior service and turnaround times. It also helps to ‘be the customer’, to put yourself in their shoes as much as possible and to anticipate needs as much as possible before the customer has to ask.
2. Show your employees they matter. It requires genuine interaction, frank conversation and inquiry into their aspirations. It means talking about the good, the bad, the ugly – encouraging full disclosure in a safe environment. It really helps establish a culture of loyalty and longevity when you care about them, not just what you, their employer, demand. A “what would you do if you owned the business” discussion can be very beneficial. In turn, employees become more motivated, morale is higher, and the work they do on behalf of customers is dramatically improved. Excellence in customer service is achieved.
With the “Big Resignation” still impacting the nationwide workforce, this process becomes even more timely and critical to ultimately delivering the best possible customer service. One way to counter the current drain of employees from companies is to find ways to keep and promote talent in the ranks.
3. Detect problems before the product progresses. While mistakes can be the pathway to problem solving and positive movement, problems are ever-present, regardless of industry or business. It’s how and when they’re resolved that sets the true measure of a company’s customer service excellence. A useful tool is incentive plans to ensure that the customer would not receive a product they did not want. Additionally, closely tracking the source of issues and their resolution, and then ensuring that those experiences are shared with the entire workforce, helps cement improvements. These results are also incorporated into employee training and development programs. Experience shows that the end result is loyal customers who appreciate service, quality and speed. In turn, they become great referral sources.
4. Overlay individual departments with operations oversight that coordinates all aspects of the business – IT, finance, sales, marketing, production, logistics – to achieve optimal performance for the customer.
In short, this philosophy aims for perfection in order to achieve excellence. By following through on an overall commitment to excellence in customer service, companies sell themselves. It becomes one of the most important ways to grow and thrive in an environment where lyrics are the norm, not the exception.
About the Author: Matt Zeyher is President of Lightning Labels, a Denver-based custom label printer that uses state-of-the-art printing technology to provide affordable full-color custom labels and custom stickers in all shapes and sizes. .