Posts Tagged ‘Listening to Customers’

The Customer’s Language

July 21, 2009

Recently we met with a prospective client to discuss their goals for improving customer service. Their six work groups all have a different way of approaching customer service, and their executive team said, “We want a common service process for everyone.” Here are some key thoughts for anyone who might be thinking the same thing:

Serving is a Process. It is much easier for people serving others to understand how to do that if there is a process they can follow. Our process is six steps. Yours can be fewer. The key is that everyone understands that you have a service process, and they all know what the steps in the process are.

Problem Solving. Part of the process must include a way to solve the customer’s problem, if appropriate. (Not every call is a problem.) One way to find out what that problem solving process could be is to find out what your most successful customer service employees do and teach that to everyone.

People Are Different. Not everyone who comes in or calls has the same kind of personality. Help your people learn that “Different is not right or wrong — it is just different.” If I think everyone should react and act like me, I might think those who don’t are stupid. If I think that, it is likely to be communicated to the customer and will interfere with our relationship.

When these factors are part of your customer service philosophy, you create a common language, which facilitates communication about customers at all levels. Suppose I tell my supervisor, “I have a customer who is a Doer personality. We are at the ‘help’ step and I am having trouble identifying the cause of his issue.” The supervisor knows what a Doer is, knows where the help step is in the process and knows the significance of my problem in identifying the cause. What can be better than great communication with and about your customers?

Submitted by Mark Walker.