How Do You Scale Customer Service?
Three not so simple steps to scale your customer service strategy.
1. A core attitude change
You need a set of core values. A set of guiding principles you can fall back on when times get tough. Sometimes it’s just a phrase, usually the simpler the better. The more simple the new attitude is to take on, the better chance of by-in.
Without a new attitude (which starts at your core) you’ll never create the change you need to, to be a proactive leader in customer service. Austin Texas has one of the most vibrant business communities in the United States and some of the coolest nightlife I’ve ever experienced. When you talk to locals they always mention how Austin is much different than most of Texas cities. They have a different attitude. I’m not sure what they had first, the coolest marketing slogan for a city or the coolest city to create a marketing slogan for. Either way, they get it, and the entire city rally’s around keeping Austin weird.
2. Continuous training
Implementing a strategy without followup training is like starting a new diet and expecting results without getting up off your fat ass. You never get more out of something than what you put into it. If you really do want to make your staff better and in-turn, make your customer service better you have to continuously be giving them the training they need.
The best organizations offer on-going training that help employees grow their skill-sets and become more and more valuable to the organization. Starbucks, Westjet, Zappos, David’s Tea, Disney all are known for their amazing customer service, but these organizations who are lauded as leaders of customer service keep their employees happy and engaged by training them again and again.
A little closer to home in Regina, Saskatchewan, the owner of Coda Clothing & Shoes and Cade Style Lounge believes firmly that you’re only as strong as your training. When you’re hired at Coda or Cade in Regina you don’t see the sales floor for a couple weeks. That time is spent ensuring you will provide the experience Colter believes all consumers deserve when they frequent one of his stores. Not only the training in the beginning, he holds staff meetings regularly to cover product knowledge, knew procedures and discussions on how to improve the customer experience. Shopping in one of his Regina stores is an experience all in itself. He’s figured out a way to scale his own brand of customer service.
Your people influence your brand more than you could ever imagine, it’s your job to help them be the best ambassadors of your brand as possible.
3. A measurable way to gage improvement and success
If you’re not measuring anything how do you expect better results? In the critically acclaimed “The Ultimate Question 2.0” the author introduces the concept of Net Promoter Score. A quantitate method of measuring how your staff or customers feel about your company.
Up until several years ago the only gage for business success was the financial statements. But this only reflected what the accounts were measuring, not how people felt. In the wake of Blockbuster along with many other major corporations going bankrupt on account of losing touch with customers NPS is the bright light in a dark in gloomy world of an ever faster changing business landscape.
If you have a good feedback mechanism with your customers you can be sure the small things don’t fall through the proverbial cracks. As Jim Collins would say, you can face the brutal facts about your business and improve upon what you’ve done.
At the on set, customer service appears to be impossible to scale. But as with anything is business, trying, doing, testing, failing, adapting and retrying again is far more valuable than coming up with the perfect plan. Scaling customer service is an attitude, an attempt at making everyone in your organization frantically worried about what the customer is thinking at all of your organization’s communication points.
Stop telling yourself you can’t scale your customer service strategy and start with a new attitude. It may never be perfect, but trying new things all the time and being very honest with the results will get you quite far in this under-served world.
Start by reading The Ultimate Question 2.0 it’ll give you lots to talk about during your next customer service strategy meeting.
The three not so simple steps to scale your customer service strategy. In order of implementation…
1. Change your attitude
2. Plan to consistently get better
3. Measure what you want to improve