In my consulting work with class-leading B2C service brands around the world there is increasing recognition that focus on ‘customer service’ (an input) is the wrong place to start.
By far the most effective strategy is to reframe and consider ‘customer feeling’ (intended output) as the winning emphasis; that is, a deeper recognition of considering service delivery from the inner world of the service user, what feelings are experienced by the consumer – what I call Movement Away or Movement Towards – and the goals for customer feeling the enterprise aspires towards.
Awareness of feeling is the component missing from most impoverished customer service development programmes.
The best brands have management and front-line service delivery teams thinking of service quality not just in terms of process compliance, but also in relation to the customer’s mind, inner dialogue and the emotional (and physical) feelings associated with their experience.
This is a pattern which connects outstanding service enterprises in B2C across industry sectors.
My most successful clients have fully embraced this philosophy, even in industries often associated with functional ‘need’ transactions and process management.
These companies are evidently different. They are reaping the benefits of customer satisfaction, loyalty and business results. How, specifically, are they achieving this?
Process design, training and coaching naturally play key roles in supporting ambitions for service excellence. The true secret to success, though, is to develop the culture norm of considering customer feeling, throughout the organisational structure.
Critically, culture starts at the top.
With my clients, board directors, senior leaders and field managers, centre supervisors and front line professionals have all bought into a way of thinking with a single-minded focus on how the customer will feel about their service experience.
They have shown an outstanding and sustained commitment to employee development over a number of years, embracing customer feeling as the difference which makes the difference.
Contributory components include the design and implementation of:
1. An explicit set of service quality standards (environment, process, knowledge, behaviour, values & philosophy)
2. Consistency of service delivery, of uniform explicitly described quality, across all customer contact points (stimulated by effective training, owned and facilitated by local leaders)
3. Sustainability of service excellence, every day, week, month, quarter, year in every service centre (achieved through on-the-job coaching by trained workplace coaches)
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Nick Drake-Knight – View the original post