5 Pillars Of Quality Customer Service
I once had the privilege of taking a class about Quality. One of my favorite concepts from the course was the word “Kaizen” which is a Japanese word meaning “improvement.” We learned about companies like Toyota who adopted this philosophy of continuously improving over time.
Let me give you a real life, personal example of quality. Six years ago, on the cusp of my thirties, I weighed thirty pounds more than I do now and often looked at my life wishing I was in better shape. Thanks to a new dog that liked to bark, I started walking the dogs in the morning before work. After that, I started eating better and slowly adjusted my morning routine to where I walked every day. As I continued to improve, I added running to the mix.
Six years later, I feel much better, I’m maintaining the best shape of my life and am having a ton of fun running half and full marathons. Have I stopped there? No way. I am continuing to improve and hopefully setting an example of a healthy lifestyle for my children. The point I’m making here is that had I tried to do all of this in one shot, I would have most certainly failed. By slowly improving and setting attainable goals, I can now look back over the last six years and be really proud of what I’ve accomplished.
I recently wrote a post on the Phone.com blog about our quality service standard and want to take a few moments to define quality customer service. Much like the process of continuous self improvement, this can be applied to customer service. Here are my five pillars of quality customer service:
- Quality Customer Service Begins With Culture- The foundation of everything we do in customer service begins with our culture. Deeply embedded in the culture must be a love and respect for customers and this must be lived at all levels. The moment you view customers as an inconvenience rather than partners in the success of your business, you are in major trouble as a company.
- Quality Customer Service Listens To Customers- Organizations on all levels must listen to their customers. Your customers are the ones using your product and putting fresh sets of eyes on your product. Their feedback is a rich wealth of information on how to improve your product or service and the way it is experienced. Surveys to measure Net Promoter Score or Customer Satisfaction that include a place for customer comments can be great tools to get this feedback from customers.
- Quality Customer Service Listens To Internal Customers- Your customer service representatives talk to your customers all day, every day. It is critical to talk to them, listen to them and take action based on their feedback. I have found regular one on one meetings, StrengthsFinder and Employee Engagement surveys to be fantastic ways to consistently listen to our internal customers.
- Quality Customer Service Hires The Right People- You may have heard the famous concept from “Good To Great” about having the right people on the bus in the right seat. Your hiring process must continue to improve so you are hiring people that are terrific with customers, champions of your service standards and easily teachable.
- Quality Customer Service Emphasizes Training- The message that is conveyed to customers must be consistent and the ability of agents to resolve issues in a timely matter are so critical. These are both accomplished and improved through effective training. Training at our company is quickly becoming a collaborative effort where we talk about what’s working and what isn’t working.
In all of these things you must evaluate and take consistent action to continuously improve. Who better to drive the point home than legendary UCLA Basketball Coach, John Wooden?
When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur…. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts. — John Wooden