As I mentioned in my previous post, customer service deserves a lot more attention. Well, Customer Service Week also deserves more than one post. So here are a five items on my wish list for customer service operations in 2010:
- Forget about average handle times. If you want shorter calls, disconnect your phones. But if a customer calls you, focus more on making them happy then on getting them off the line.
- Learn from every interaction. Customer service interactions are full of insights about problems and unmet customer needs; stop squandering those extremely valuable insights.
- Recover quickly and be proactive. A quick solution to a problem generates goodwill, while a drawn-out solution loses customers. Address customer issues immediately and look for ways to eliminate problems before the customer even contacts you — this includes enabling customers to help each other.
- Make customer service a product attribute. Don’t view customer service as an afterthought, think of it as a key component of your offering; so design it like you design other product attributes.
- Engage reps in customer experience transformation. One of my 6 laws of customer experience is that unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers. So make your customer service organization a great place to work, which will cut down on turnover and get reps more involved in customer experience transformation efforts.
The bottom line: Turn customer service into a strategic weapon