Customer service – everybody needs to be involved. It’s a culture thing

Customer service needs to be considered a ‘culture’, meaning that every individual inside the business or every individual that the business deals with is treated with the same excellent service and respect. The culture of a business is the way it, and its employees behave. Customer service must come from the top & work throughout the company. It needs to be tackled by company directors in a ‘practice what you preach’ fashion; otherwise unhappy employees will not deliver excellent customer service. Once a company has decided on a level of customer service that they wish to enforce and follow, this information should be made readily available for all employees of all levels throughout the organisation.

It is also important for top-level management to make it very clear to employees, how they wish for them to behave towards not only customers but also their co-workers. This will help create the appropriate dynamic within the organisation.

Thinking of ideas to improve customer service from within an organisation is a great way to boost your employees’ morale and push them to advance their skills. Reward incentives are a great idea for maintaining employee spirits and creating a sense of working towards something. These do not always have to be cash incentives, but gift ideas, extra time off or even an article commending them on their achievements are brilliant ways of saying, ‘’well done & thank you’’.

Furthermore, regular employee reviews can be effective for management to get to know their employees a little better, and to make sure they understand the areas they can improve on & managers can understand further where employees struggle or answer any queries they have surrounding their job role. Therefore if it’s customer service managers wish to push, review meetings are a great time to bring up issues and help employees recognise what they can do to build on their existing skills.

Everyone from the most senior people within an organisation to the most junior, must believe they work for the customer; otherwise the philosophy will not be consistent throughout the business. Consistency is key to customer service as customers feel safe, when they receive the same service every time and can rely on an organisation to deliver every time.

For good service to be given, all employees need to WANT to give good service. Willingness and making sure to push all excuses aside will help your organisation to strive. Why would you not want to give customer service everything you have got? Especially when you rely on customers for your business to stay afloat.

Having the right employees is the first start to creating a really strong customer service push. Without employees with brilliant communication skills, dedication to the organisation & fantastic personalities, then your organisation will struggle to reach customer service excellence.

The best customer service comes from the businesses or organisations that really understand their target market. You have to be able to relate to really appreciate the customer and therefore, give the best service possible. Without a good understanding of what the customer wants and the sort of issues they may face with your organisation, you will not give the customer service they deserve.

Employees must be given the freedom to experiment with customer service, and creatively think of new ways to enhance the customer service the business is delivering. Obviously the outcome must always be in favour of the customer and not harm the business in anyway. By experimenting and allowing employees freedom to try new ideas, it will lead to interesting success and failure examples to learn from as a business. Learning through experience needs to be encouraged from the top down, and employees need to be able to make mistakes and learn from them, otherwise progression will never be made.

No matter what level of the business an employee works within, from junior administrators to directors of a company, they should all have some experience with dealing with customer feedback and the impacts of good/bad customer service. Hearing feedback whether positive or negative will help employees grow and strengthen their abilities. Therefore it is essential for all levels of the business to be in touch with their customers, to know what their customers are thinking currently about their product or service. This will help organisations to all be in tune with the current opinions of customers.

An important aspect of customer service, is remembering that the customer is always right and there is always a way of satisfying or placating the customer. Employees of all levels need to be given the responsibility and authority to confidently be able to help customers, even if it does mean sometimes giving in to their demands. There should never be a situation where a business just says ‘sorry there is nothing we can do for you’. There is always a way of compromising and directors and management level staff of organisations should instil this confidence in their employees, so that they can feel free to handle situations in the best way possible to please customers, however obviously within reason.

Customer service is a culture and it should be a top priority of an organisation to make sure all employees understand this. It will have a positive impact on any company to make sure that customer service is driven from the top downwards and that there is incentives and motivation for all employees to succeed and improve at it.

Bob Mandy, Senior Project Manager at Customer Service Excellence