Improving Customer Service Should Be #1
On Your Process Improvement Projects
Customers tend to be highly sensitive to negative reactions from your service team, especially when something goes wrong. This can include a representative’s tone of voice on the phone, an abrupt email or social media response, or even body language during an in-person encounter. If you want to improve customer experience most efficiently, start with the people who will be at the front lines of your process improvement projects.
Process improvement is the proactive task of identifying, analyzing and improving upon existing business processes within an organization for optimization and to meet new quotas or standards of quality. It often involves a systematic approach which follows a specific methodology but there are different approaches to be considered. Some examples are benchmarking or lean manufacturing, each of which focuses on different areas of improvement and uses different methods to achieve the best results. Processes can either be modified or complemented with sub-processes or even eliminated for the ultimate goal of improvement.
Process improvement is an ongoing practice and should always be followed up with the analysis of tangible areas of improvement. Improving customer service should be #1 in your process improvement projects. When implemented successfully, the results can be measured in customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, enhancement of product quality, increased productivity, development of the skills of employees, efficiency and increased profit resulting in higher and faster return on investment.
Improving the customer experience begins by understanding the internal business process that must align to deliver better external customer outcomes. Customer value is in the eye of the perceiver and by systematically studying customer wants and needs, an organization can build robust business processes that consistently meet those needs and deliver a significant competitive advantage over time. Behind every unhappy customer lays a broken business process. Happy customers come from a series of business processes that align to meet their needs.
Every customer service interaction is inherently unique, and the circumstances surrounding an average conversation can vary significantly depending upon your industry, the size and culture of your company, and other factors. While most companies have specific policies and procedures in place to account for these variables, several principles of customer service hold true across every interaction between company and customer.
Consistently executing these principles is the baseline for creating a customer experience that rises about the competition. In a world where nearly 90% of leaders believe they are primarily competing based on the customer experience, customer service representatives must prioritize these actions before, during, and after every single customer interaction.