By Ted Stone, Chief Executive, Customer First UK
Putting the Customer First® – The National Standard for customer service is an excellent developmental tool which promotes all levels of on-going customer service improvement. Chief Executive, Ted Stone, gives you his 7 Top Tips for creating outstanding customer service:
1. Identify your core customer groups and their individual needs and expectations
Although the foundation of your service delivery method should be consistent, exceptional service is based on understanding how to personalise the process for core groups giving them a service that feels bespoke to them.
2. Understand the customer journey within your organisation
Most organisations have a customer journey map which looks distinctly like the London Tube Map. This isn’t the customer journey – it is a map of your internal processes. To understand the “real” customer journey you need to take a higher view and make your internal processes seem invisible – focusing solely on the customer’s needs and perceptions of your organisation.
3. It’s about the customer experience – Not just customer service
Customer service is really just delivering what the customer expected when they approached your organisation. It is required, but it is no longer enough. Customers have become more discerning about their options and will choose organisations that make the experience easier and more enjoyable. It is all about the “experience” – how it actually feels to do business with you.
4. Value and recognise your staff
Your employees are the most valuable asset within your organisation. Make sure that you treat them this way. You can have the most fantastic product or service offering in your market segment, but if you have staff who feel overworked and undervalued it will consistently degrade the customer experience. People buy from people – make sure your staff are valued and they will value your customers.
5. Understand customer loyalty and its long term impact
Customer Satisfaction Surveys are a valuable tool, but they are reflective. They tell you how your organisation performed in a previous opportunity. Make sure that you understand the key drivers for customer loyalty. Once you know what your customers expect from their experience with your company you can identify ways to surpass these expectations and really differentiate your organisation from your competitors.
6. Learn from your mistakes
Complaints are a fact of business. Things will happen which leave a customer feeling that their expectations have not been met. Don’t just react to the individual complaint – consider the root cause and explain your future actions to the customer who complained. This will allow them to feel that your organisation values the views of its customers and constantly strives to improve the overall customer experience.
7. Celebrate your successes
Many organisations actively pursue continuous improvement without taking time to celebrate the achievements of their staff or the organisation as a whole. Staff morale is a key part of a successful organisation as it cultivates an environment which is open to new changes when the need is identified for continued growth. Your staff will stop accepting change if they feel that their efforts aren’t recognised.
About Ted Stone
As an American Expat living in the UK for the past 14 years, Ted Stone has emerged as a leading speaker and consultant in the fields of customer service delivery and customer experience development. He combines his extensive management portfolio with his natural service ethos to give his audience a unique understanding of the relationship between any organisation and its customers.
Prior to accepting the role of Chief Executive of Customer First UK, Ted has held Senior Management positions with blue chip companies on both sides of the Atlantic. From London to Las Vegas, he has led organisations through the critical journey from being responsive and reactive to being truly proactive and customer centric.
Ted adopts a natural delivery method to quickly engage with his audience and keep them both interested and entertained whilst ensuring that the core message is always clear. Through humour and some basic truths he demonstrates how thinking outside the standard business model is paramount for sustained growth in any organisation.