To some extent, most businesses function as customer service call centers. Where else will customers go for service when face-to-face contact is not feasible?
The success or failure of customer service delivery in any-sized organization depends on people. All of the information technology and all of the rigorous procedures in the world cannot convince callers that someone genuinely cares about their issues and concerns.
Statistics concerning customers who change from established business relationships to new ones are startling. 67% of customers who started new business relationships report that they were “satisfied” with their old ones. 85% of all “satisfied” customers indicate that they would be willing to try a new supplier. Why would satisfied customers leave?
In a majority of cases it is because at least once, they have experienced poor customer service. As businesses grow and customer bases expand, we face constant erosion in the personal relationships that form the foundation for customer loyalty. Where the business has grown to the point of instituting a call center, the chances are minimal that any customer will speak to the same representative more than once in the lifetime of the business relationship. Given the trend toward facelessness, the only real hope of conveying trust, empathy, courtesy, and concern for the needs of customers lies in finding employees who consistently exhibit those characteristics themselves.
Employees must also be able to communicate verbal and numerical concepts effectively with customers. In addition, they must understand and espouse the company’s customer service philosophy and culture, and deliver services within those parameters.
If your organization depends on a quality level of customer service, begin by hiring individuals who have the “right stuff,” i.e., the traits, skills, and understanding necessary for them to be top performers in your organization’s environment. You could also make them take an assessment that incorporates the well-established concept of “job fit” with a tool designed to measure an employee’s alignment with your company’s customer service philosophy, to increase the chances that new employees will deliver the levels of customer service you strive to achieve. At the same time, existing employees can be assessed and coached to ensure that the entire team is focused on exemplary levels of customer service. You will immediately and dramatically increase in your employees the level of awareness and level of service necessary to reap the benefits of customer loyalty.