The staff in contact with the customer takes an ambassador role for your organization and represents – to his eyes – the service quality of your business as a whole. The customer is the judge, and his judgment can sometimes be merciless. In order to stand out, organizations must constantly reinvent themselves and innovate – restlessly. The traditional advantages (characteristics, functions, costs) no longer suffice in providing a durable distinctive advantage. This is why more and more businesses aim for quality of service to distinguish themselves. Customer service becomes an element of differentiation for the organization. A customer service-centered staff is an essential element in managing a successful business.
But building a service-centered business is no easy feat.
The Management faces numerous challenges when implementing a customer service improvement process. Some of the most common difficulties are:
Businesses based on customer service must worry about the customer, make sure he has an enjoyable experience, as well as improve his satisfaction level. Your team must make your customers feel welcome within your business, and not like a necessary evil they would rather avoid. But the frontline personnel must juggle with more and more demands, requests and expectations, and sometimes this pressure and tension can be felt (and suffered!) by your customers. Therefore, the Management must also worry about the personnel, as happy staff makes happy customers.
The customer relationship is precisely that – a relationship. What’s really important is how people (customers, staff, Management) feel following each exchange. When we establish a service-based culture which puts people at the forefront, we must create lasting relationships by developing experts in customer relations – capable of providing, day in day out, outstanding customer care.
The question we must ask is: “How can we create a service-centered organizational culture?”
Customer service is a culture, a philosophy. It is not a department, nor a program, nor is it a policy. In order to benefit from a satisfied customer base, we must put in place a global improvement process across the business as a whole. To facilitate its implementation and progression, let’s have a look at the steps to be taken towards this philosophy.
Each organization must adapt its plan to fit its own needs. But above all, it must satisfy the needs of ITS OWN customers. There is no “specification” for an efficient customer service plan. Each will have its differences. However, there are a few common steps which you should take into consideration when elaborating yours.
If wisely used, this process will help you put your business in better touch with its customer base and develop a service-based culture. Good luck and keep in mind that customer service is above all a philosophy!
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Xavier Aymé, Chef des opérations | Mercator Canada Inc.
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