Customer Relationship Management
6 steps from Customer Serviceby Susan and Derek Nash
One of the ongoing challenges successful businesses face is in optimizing customer satisfaction and developing Customer Relationship Management. So many companies "jump on the bandwagon" of improving customer service in order to impact customer retention levels. Yet, since 1994, customer satisfaction has dropped in nearly every sector of the economy according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index compiled by the University of Michigan. So why is this? Raising customer satisfaction levels requires a comprehensive systems approach.
This article will cover:
Susan and Derek Nash
Setting a Clear Customer Experience StrategyOften organisations confuse defining a customer experience strategy with creating a "slogan". How many companies create a slogan without any supporting initiatives, thereby disillusioning employees and creating a "flavour of the month?"
To establish a good strategy certain key practices are required:
- Understand the overall organisational vision and mission
- Define the organisation's customer service direction, slogan and values
- Ensure customer service is defined as a key responsibility for the business/department
- Share the customer experience strategy via a comprehensive communications program
- Ensure that this strategy does not conflict with other business strategies. As consultants, it is amazing how often we hear organisations say, "Improving Customer Service is a priority, and we are also introducing stringent cost-cutting measures." This can present a tough dichotomy.
Selecting the Correct PeopleIt's really hard to teach an elephant to dance!
When recruiting employees to provide customer service, the process often tends to concentrate more on functional expertise, technical competence and knowledge rather than interpersonal skills. However, lack of the right attitude can drastically impact client satisfaction levels. Research has in fact shown that attitude is the most important requirement: skills and functional expertise can be taught.
Therefore in selecting the right people:
- Define the critical job requirements
- Develop scenario-based interviews/assessment centres to screen and select candidates
- Involve multiple team members in the hiring process
- Ensure evaluation is based on objective, not the subjective "Be Like Me" criteria
In part two of this article, we will look at the remaining four key principles of making the transition from a customer service culture to customer relationship management.
© 2005 Susan and Derek Nash