We’re excited to celebrate our everyday heroes from October 5th to October 9th as part of Customer Service Week 2015! There should be a lot of great content coming from the Twitterverse and it’s going to be an incredible opportunity to socially network with other service pro’s.
Whether you’re celebrating the event in person with the rest of your team or just following it on social media, make sure you get the most from your investment of time and money. This annual event is a great opportunity to look at how customer service can further contribute to the success of your operation.
Here are a few questions, to ask yourself (and the rest of your support team) next week.
1. How does customer service align with your broader business goals for Q4?
Many business leaders spend a good chunk of their time looking inward at their own organization in their ever present search for more efficient ways of doing things. While introspection is a critical piece of the pie for your business, you need to take some time to ask yourself how your customer interactions fit into your bottom line as well.
For example, how often do your customers renew their contractual relationship with your organization? Could your performance in one quarter make or break the relationship for years to come? Any time you have a business goal, look at where your customer interactions fit into making that goal a reality
2. Why does a customer invest their time and money with you instead of your competitor?
You probably have some great business relationships with your customers, but you’re still expected to deliver at a high level. Get your customer facing employees together and start an open dialogue on this subject in particular.
Consider asking your sales team to get involved too, they will have some interesting feedback to share based on their front line experiences. Your customers will often communicate their likes and dislikes about your competitors directly with your sales staff before the sale is complete. Think of this information as your actionable service target. If you outperform a competitor on a customer pain point, you’re creating a relationship based on success with your customer.
3. How will you outperform the customer service pro’s that work for your competitors?
Picture the top customer service and IT pro’s from each of your competitors. Keep their daily routine in mind. They’re fielding calls and sending out emails to fix the the very same problems you are. Now, picture yourself getting those things done more efficiently, and with better turn around times for your customers. Challenge yourself to find new and inventive ways to solve the problems you face on a daily basis.
4. Do you have the right tools to hit your goals and measure your success?
These days, there is no shortage of tools promising to make your customer interactions smoother, but something we believe strongly at InvGate is that the best customer service tools are designed to:
- Make it easy to report and field new requests. When they have a problem, they need to be able to let you know right away.
- Allow you to deliver on your promises to customers. If you have SLA’s baked into your contracts, your tools can’t stand in the way of a deliverable.
- Offer prompt human interactions. While we live in a highly technical world, “we will respond to your request shortly”, doesn’t help someone who has an emergent issue. The sooner you offer a human touch point, the better.
5. Are you a good problem solver?
Your techs may be encouraged to resolve a high volume of tickets, or triage and escalate as necessary to keep your SLA’s in line. Numerical results are definitely important, but you’ll get more out of your conversations if you think of every hand-off or closed ticket as a “problem solved”.
It’s easy to overlook just how many people have a vested interest in that outcome. Let’s skip past the obvious beneficiaries, like your coworkers, and dig deeper. When you deliver on a promise to a customer, what does that do for THEIR business? Follow the breadcrumbs and think about how many people along the line are getting something out of what you put in. Honor that relationship by always giving your best.
6. Do your customers know how important they are to you?
This one will be difficult to answer with a traditional satisfaction report. Ask your customers for their honest feedback on what you’re doing right and where they see room for you to improve. Resist the urge to send a stuffy survey and, instead, take a few moments to write them a personal email (or better yet, a handwritten note!) on the subject.
If they’re happy, ask them for a quote or a testimonial that you can use on your website or in marketing materials. As a thank you, open up your professional network to them if you know they’re having trouble with something that is outside of your company’s wheelhouse. Bottom line, don’t just tell them that they’re important - show them. If you go out of your way for a customer, your brand benefits every time.
7. Are you a good listener?
We recently released a blog post in our series on building your ITSM Dream Team and the importance of hiring good listeners was discussed. The biggest takeaway from all of my years of working first hand with customers is that people don’t buy products or services - they buy other people. Specifically, they buy people that deliver outcomes.
If you don’t take the time to listen, you won’t understand what your customer really needs. If you’re not listening closely enough, you will always struggle to deliver the outcome your customer is looking for.
Feel free to share your favorite #CSweek2015 tweets and any light bulb moments! While you are waiting for the event to kick off, have a look at our recent Webinar on The 4 Deadly Sins of ITSM and download our PDF check list as a guide for making data driven decisions.