Well, the ribbons are barely off the holiday packages and we are still digesting the last of the figgy pudding, so that means it must be time for us to fill the air with lots of resolutions for 2012.
In these waning days of 2011, we hear much pontificating on those things that will make life better for everyone in 2012. Many of these resolutions will be fairy tale fancies that do not even have a chance of coming true … but this is also a time when we can honestly reflect on worthy and important goals that can truly make things better both in our personal and business lives.
So, in the spirit of understanding what we can do to actually achieve Excellent Customer Service in 2012, I offer up three resolutions:
1. Focus on the Customer
This should be at the top of everyone’s list, and while it may seem obvious that we must focus more on the customer in 2012, we all are sufficiently tempted by plenty of day-to-day distractions that divert our attention away from doing the things that engage customers and excite consumers about our product, service or brand.
We must have a much greater focus on the customer experience and do everything we can to ensure that all of our systems, processes, programs, policies, procedures and initiatives have one end in mind: to strengthen our focus on the customer experience. We call this focus Keeping the Customer in the Middle of the Circle. That circle represents the customer’s world – his practical, emotional and low-effort needs – the reason he is reaching out to you and everything else that comes with it.
Our job is to align every part of the Customer Service Touchpoint with the customer’s circle. But many times we actually turn the Customer Service Touchpoint and the entire Customer Service Experience into an exercise where we attempt coax the customer out of his circle in order to align with our policies and procedures.
At the risk of sounding preachy, everything we decide to do in the coming year, from a strategic, operational or budgeting perspective, must revolve around this one resolution: Putting Our Customers at the Very Top of Our Priority List … and Keeping Our Customers at the Top of the List.
2. Focus on the Customer Service Representative
The front-line employee who interacts directly with the customer is the single-most important ambassador a company has; they are or should be the standard-bearers of our Company’s Vision and our Brand. The company’s very reputation and Brand Promise must be conveyed to your valued customer.
As Customer Service Leaders, let’s resolve in 2012 to start recognizing our front-line customer service representatives. They are our customer service soldiers in their role. As leaders, let’s start understanding our role is to shape and fashion the resources, systems and processes as tools the front-line customer service representatives can use to heighten and improve the customer experience. Let’s make sure we are providing our customer service representatives with the skills and competencies to do their job well, and then let’s reward our customer service representatives in tangible and meaningful ways when they are successful.
Let 2012 be the year when we fuel the front-line customer service representatives’ purpose, passion and professionalism and then inspire all our customer service representatives to make every customer touchpoint a loyalty-building experience.
Let’s finally connect and engage our front-line customer service warriors with the entire dynamic of the organization and what we are trying to achieve.
Let’s invite them to be the face of the company in a meaningful way … then let’s observe in wonder as they gain the ability and the motivation to knock the customer’s socks off.
3. Focus on Each Individual Customer Service Touchpoint
In 2012, let’s focus on the critical value of the singular Customer Service Touchpoint with our customers; the one interaction – the next call, e-mail or chat – the single customer service interaction that might be your one chance to carry that customer to loyalty and maximum profitability.
This singular Customer Service Touchpoint is your company’s Golden Touchpoint™ Customer Service Opportunity to create a lasting impression on the customer. The power of that one customer experience touchpoint is undeniable. You have to do everything you possibly can to transform that customer experience touchpoint into a customer loyalty experience that will have the customer buzzing about the way you answered his question, solved his problem or gave him direction.
Let’s face it: We just never know what might come out of the singular customer service touchpoint with a customer. It could be that as soon as the customer disconnects from the call, email or chat or he walks out of your store that he will forget about you. However, it could also very well be that immediately after having had a great customer service experience or a horrible experience that he tweets a message, posts something on his Facebook page or shares his experience with a party of six at lunch.
What will he say and what will be the impact?
In 2012, you will have thousands, possibly even tens or hundreds of thousands, of customer experience touchpoints with your valued customers.
Let’s resolve to succeed with every last Customer Experience Touchpoint.
Let’s cash in on each Customer Experience Touchpoint’s unique potential to create value with our customers.
What are your 2012 Customer Service Resolutions? Please share them with us.