By Rosanne D’Ausilio PhD
There is what we call a moment of truth when a customer makes a decision about you, your company, maybe even all companies in your industry, based on their interaction with anyone from the front lines up to and including your CEO. In those first three sentences, a customer determines whether their interaction will be a good experience, a bad experience, or a waste of their time.
When talking about customer service, customer satisfaction, and customer retention, you often hear that the best way to determine how you’re doing is to ask your customer. And that’s absolutely true. However, if you really want to know how your company is doing, ask your internal customer.
Not many companies do this. Their focus seems to be on the external customer only. But knowing what’s going on with internal customers is key to improving the satisfaction of external ones.
Who is your internal customer? Your employees, your peers, your direct reports, any and every one who has an impact on the customer experience. And how do you assess them? What do we look for when we take the pulse of a company?
• What are the strengths of your people?
• What are their weaknesses?
• What are the commonalities among applications?
• What are the changes currently going on in your organization?
• What is today’s stress level?
• What doesn’t get communicated powerfully?
• What feels like you’re working with one hand tied behind your back?
• What are the mixed messages that may be rampant at your company?
• Why are your customers calling – do they have a question, a request, a complaint or a problem?
• What is a Typical Call?
• What is a Call from Hell?
• What’s the biggest gripe on the side of the customer?
• What’s the biggest gripe on the side of the employee?
• What gets accelerated and why?
• What empowerment exists, if any?
• What works really well?
• In a perfect world what would you do differently?
When you can answer these questions, you’re really getting to know your company and its people.
How do you accomplish this? We do it by:
1) Interviewing people
2) Monitoring calls
3) Studying the flow
4) Navigation of screens
5) After-call process
However, we don’t want to talk only to the best people or the highest level, but to all of them, whenever possible, and at all productivity levels.
Armed with this information, you can then identify the gaps and with that knowledge in hand, you are best able to present options. These options can fall into one of three categories:
If it is determined that it’s a people issue (which often it is), design customized training sessions to address the gaps and kick it up a notch in the area of customer service. We suggest these classes be delivered over time so that retention is improved and delivery is in real time addressing whatever current challenges exist.
If it is a technology issue, usually it’s caused by silos, the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Many companies because of heavy investment in technology keep trying to make it work. Reminds me of the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
If the results show a process issue, ‘be a customer’ and go through the process to see where the gaps are. Stand at the end, what is the result you want and how did you get there? What got in the way? What would make it smoother? Again, what are the gaps and how do you either eliminate them, fill them, or replace what isn’t working?
Rosanne D’Auslio, Ph.D., President of Human Technologies Global, Inc., and known as “the practical champion of the human,” is an industrial psychologist, consultant, master trainer, bestselling author, executive coach, and customer service expert. She also writes the complimentary tips newsletter How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch!