“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” Max DePree
Building an organization where you want exemplary customer service requires senior management to build a culture from the top down. If you are a new startup this should be an area which needs to be emphasized right from the beginning to help you create a culture which will permeate throughout the organization when you scale. So how do you go about creating a culture for customer service?
1. Make customer service as objective and tangible as possible. Place benchmarks on just about everything which relates to the customer from the time it takes for you to reply to an email, send out a quotation to delivering the product. Customer satisfaction surveys should be in place to help you assess how satisfied the customer was with the product/service, how you are doing with trouble shooting over the phone and email and what needs to be done to increase the customer’s level of satisfaction.
2. Once certain procedures and benchmarks are in place, training to optimize the level of customer service must be provided on these processes. This will equip your employees to better understand, perform and serve customers. It also reflects how serious the organization is about this function. A lot of great companies such as Disney, Starbucks and Commerce Bank are prime examples of how intense training from the time you are hired has created a world class customer service culture.
3. Showcase and reward staff who display outstanding customer service. Employee recognition sends a message through the organization and creates personal benchmarks for everyone to achieve. It motivates them to perform at their highest level and this sets a much higher standard in the organization.
4. If you do hire an employee who ends up not sharing the same core values relating to customer service, as senior management, you should let those employees go as soon as possible. This shows how important senior management takes this function and their level of dedication to delivering the highest levels of service.
During the 30 hour period while I was disconnected I probably spoke to approximately 20 representatives at the organization. I went to their office, talked with them on the phone and exchanged emails. All three contact points gave me a completely different experience. I came across different types of individuals some who took their jobs seriously and others who simply couldn’t care less.
Being entrepreneurs and individuals responsible for the direction our companies take we need to establish a culture for superior customer service from the start. This will ensure that when we eventually scale, these values will be deeply embedded and scaled likewise as well.