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Customer service is no longer a function – it’s a whole way of doing business

Customer service directors need to influence their entire organisations to adopt a customer service culture

Customers today take an end-to-end view of your organisation. To them, ‘customer service’ includes every interaction with your business – not just those with the customer service function. 

For example, a utility customer’s perception of customer service will be influenced by their interaction with the person who comes to read their meter, the bill they receive and the process of paying online – as well as by having to walk round one of the utility’s bollards in the street. And if the customer doesn’t like some aspect of those interactions, their dislike can easily “go viral” as they share their experience via social media. 

The challenge is that this change puts customer service outside the customer service director’s immediate control. You therefore need to find ways to influence your colleagues to accept that good customer service is their responsibility too. 

There are a number of steps you can take to instil a customer service culture across your organisation:

Shift the focus to outcomes rather than tasks 

Everyone needs to understand the impact that their activities have on the customer. That means redefining objectives in terms of improving customer satisfaction so people buy more, rather than in terms of delivering 600 parcels a day, or fixing 2,000 bugs. To instil a customer service culture across the organisation, customer-centric metrics need to be embedded into the reward and recognition/incentive schemes for everybody in the organisation.

Gain the support of your opposite numbers in other functions 

Creating this focus on customer outcomes, and instilling a customer service culture, has to start with the operations director, the sales director, the IT director and other senior management. They must define the required customer outcomes, and what is required from whom in the organisation to achieve it. The customer journey is a powerful tool for helping them to do this.

Get your own house in order 

As a customer service director, you need to ensure that your own function delivers robust, high-quality service. This will give you the credibility you need to lead change across your organisation. One important step is to incorporate social media into the customer service function. For example, a utility company can use Facebook and Twitter to keep the public informed of power outages and the like. When a complaint is raised via social media, Customer Service should proactively engage in the discussion, resolving the issue and aiming to establish the customer as an advocate. 

To speak to a customer service expert about aligning all aspects of your organisation to the customer, contact us now.

Adam Hughes
Customer services
contact us now

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