“The customer is always right.” This old maxim is more than a little clichéd, but there’s still a fair amount of truth to it. If you want your company to succeed, you need to put the customer first. It has to be not just a maxim, but a way of life, throughout your organization. So how can you do it? What steps can you take and policies can you implement? Here are six traits your organization needs to excel at customer service.
- Create a Chief Customer Officer. If your CEO and board are truly committed to customer service, then you need to be accountable. And the way to demonstrate that accountability is by creating the position of Chief Customer Officer. A CCO oversees the relationship between your company and your customers and shapes the customer experience to your organization’s ideal. Even though CCO is a relatively new position, over 800 companies have already adopted it.
- Encourage Customer “Whining.” A lot of companies make it difficult for customers to register a complaint. There’s either a long, complicated form that’s hidden deep within the annals of their website, or a labyrinth of phone menu options before they can get to a live person, in order to discourage frivolous or unnecessary complaints from people who just like to whine. Regardless of whether you think a complaint is “legitimate” or not, you can learn a lot from it. How promptly you can meet your customer needs is crucial. Another important step resides in how you mollify your customer, and the others like them? Is there some behavior or policy you can change to prevent these complaints in the future? Even if it seems like whining, encourage customers to give their feedback, so that you can learn from your mistakes, or prevent others or event better ensure greater customer experience in the future.
- Organize Customer Experience Information. Customer may express thoughts on their experience with your company in many different ways. They may talk directly to a sales rep or a manager on the phone, or they may leave feedback on your website via a contact form. Or maybe they’ll say it in a comment on your blog, or as a post on social media. No matter how they’re expressing it, you need to be on top of it, ready to help them with whatever they need. Therefore, all Customer Experience information should be carefully tracked, quantified, and organized, so that it’s readily available and easy to browse through.
- Get a Customer Experience Dashboard. How do you make your CE information easy to access and understand? How do you incorporate it into your customer service strategy? You need a CE dashboard. Many companies offer this type of tool, which not only help you organize all relevant data but help to analyze and interpret it. This allows you to view a variety of metrics at a glance that speak of your customer service success, including overall brand health and customer satisfaction, both individually and on the whole.
- Be Transparent. Once you have this information organized and quantified, what do you do with it? Who’s allowed to see it? Everybody. Present the information in a vibrant and dynamic way and make sure every employee sees it. This will help them better understand and relate to your company’s goals of improving customer service, and show them clearly how you’re doing at it: what’s been successful, and where you can improve.
- Understand Customer Feelings. Many companies quantify their customer service success by overall satisfaction. The majority of your customers love their experience, so you’re doing well. But what about the ones who don’t love the experience? What about those who were mostly satisfied, but thought there was room for improvement—the three out of five star reviews? It’s important to respond to your customers individually, understanding who express what about your company. Of course, the next step is to get to the root cause of why they feel that way, so that you can help them improve their experience, as well as prevent other customers to feel that way.
Is the customer always right? There might be a better way to look at things. It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s about making sure your customers have the best possible experience with your company. Right or wrong, satisfied or unsatisfied, the customer matters. That’s the maxim your company wants to live by when you want to excel at customer service.