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All businesses depend on employees to deliver quality service. For most businesses, improving customer service levels is more important than providing a good product.
Research clearly shows a strong link between employee performance and customer satisfaction. Your customer satisfaction level accurately reflects your employees’ performance. Who better than your customers to let you know how effective your internal processes are at providing the appropriate levels of customer service?
How then, does a company improve employee performance? By measuring it.
The practical application of improving customer service is fairly simple:
1. Find out what customers want.
2. Develop a way to give it to them.
3. Monitor delivery to make sure they’re receiving it.
4. Make adjustments to improve operational execution.
Here’s an example from the hotel industry as recorded by a customer: "I needed to send a fax, and arrived at your business center one minute before closing. As I walked up to the center, fax in hand, your employee locked the glass door, looked at his watch, shrugged his shoulders and mouthed, ‘Sorry, closing time’." With additional training, this associate was taught not to let what is convenient for him personally take precedence over what is convenient for the customer.
Conversely, when an employee goes out of his way for a customer, that customer may become loyal not only to the employee, but also to the store and the brand. For example, when one of my employees had a problem with her cell phone, she called the service provider, who suggested a certain retail store in her area. When she took the phone to the store, not only did the representative fix it, he didn’t charge her and kept the store open past closing to accommodate her. Now she will only go to this store, and she recommends it to many of her friends.
Know how your employees treat your customers and take steps to improve their level of service. In turn, you will have happier customers, happier employees, and greater profits.
Richard D. Hanks
Salt Lake City, Utah
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