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Why Innovation Is So Important For Improving Customer Service

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 8, 2008

The most relevant, effective, and useful solutions for improving an organization typically come from those who have face-to-face roles with customers. I call this phenomenon "bubble-up innovation." It happens when fresh ideas and contributions on how to operate more efficiently are generated by front-line employees. When bubble-up innovation is encouraged, appreciated, and enacted, it can transform a good organization into a great one.

The following are tips to create structures to support and sustain this type of innovation:

• Place a tape recorder in a bubble-up "zone" where employees can record their ideas. Employees are more likely to give you ideas if they don’t have to spend a lot of time writing them down.

• Rewards and recognition. You want to encourage and reward innovative behaviors. Gift certificates, movie tickets, and spot bonuses (instant cash recognition) are all good incentives.

• Provide a simple form that employees can fill out. While many people are more likely to give you ideas off-the-cuff verbally, some employees feel more comfortable writing their ideas on paper.

Michael D. Brown, MBA
Customer Service Consultant
Los Angeles

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