Company leaders should recognize when customer service legends are born, and they should bang the internal drum of praise in order to promote team loyalty and enhance customer relationship strategies.
TAKING THE EXTRA STEP IN CUSTOMER SERVICE
Stories of that “extra step” taken during a hard-to-solve customer issue, or of a team member going out of her way in order resolve a client’s near disaster, get passed around the work lunchroom all the time. Swapping and comparing stories of swift action and grateful customers is commonplace in most businesses who rely on providing top-notch service.
But where do those stories end up? Why not use them as examples to enhance your training and consider them an integral part of your customer service strategy?
RECRUIT, TRAIN AND RETAIN YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM
There are many steps you can take to ensure these stories remain relevant as tools to be used when recruiting, training and retaining your customer service team. As with all business development strategies, having these examples is only one step in the process. A step than can be effective when the stories are told just right, and when the storytelling comes with visual and public recognition.
DO YOU HAVE A CUSTOMER SERVICE SUPERSTAR?
Our own Customer Service Superstar is Brenda Gortowski, who has earned the title of Team Leader for continually striving to ensure customer satisfaction, for knowing company policies through and through and for never hesitating to take an extra step in following through on a promise, whether that promise is to a customer or her own customer service team.
When asked about her own greatest story, Brenda recounted the time when every minute within a 24-hr period counted towards fixing a distraught customer’s dilemma:
“When I arrived at work one Thursday morning, I found an urgent email that had been sent afterhours the night before. My customer was frantic as she had “dropped the ball” on ordering twenty-three customized glass awards…and she needed them completed, shipped, and delivered by the very next day, Friday. The awards were to be presented at a meeting first thing Monday morning – and they needed to be setup, by her, beforehand.
Yikes! The clock began ticking loudly. Here is the timeline of making it happen.
8:38 AM – Upon request, customer sent copy and instructions for engraving the awards
8:46 AM – I reviewed instructions and sent customer 3 glass award options from which to choose
9:07 AM – Customer sent email back with her choice, which was the Laerdal Jade Glass Award
9:46 AM – Art proof completed by our team and sent to customer for approval
11:29 AM – Customer sends approval of art proof and production begins!
11:30 AM – 4:25 PM – An all-hands-on-deck order is implemented, and all 23 award blanks are pulled from inventory, engraved, sandblasted, cleaned, packaged and shipped!
11:48 AM (next day) – Awards arrive safely to a very happy customer who can now tell her boss that she has things under control for Monday’s meeting.”
STEPS IN CREATING SUPERSTAR STRATEGY
Does your company have a great customer service story or a customer service training strategy? A recognition program that highlights great customer service can help in the development of good habits and skills in this area. Some good tips for creating such a program include:
- Recruit and train the best people for the job . Hire for personality and train the skills you want and need.
- Retain your top people! It’s well-known that a happy team puts out the best work as they respect both the organization they work for and the customer they assist. Efforts by management to assist in career development and to also recognize good work go a long way in keeping good employees onboard.
- Build on customer loyalty. Your loyal, long term customers are the best advocates to help your company thrive and grow, they also tend to be the most profitable and most forgiving in difficult times.
- Regularly listen to both your team and customers. Insightful information can be gathered in several ways: surveys, focus groups, metrics and social listening are a few ways to aid in truly hearing what is being said about your company and your service skills. Acting on what you learn is imperative, which means you must welcome complaints along with the good reports.
- Leadership must recognize when things go right. It’s not enough to create strategy and set standards. Good leaders recognize and reward team members and actions that meet and/or exceed customer service expectations. This recognition shouldn’t be done offhandedly, or in an unorganized fashion; benchmarks and measurements need to be established, so that favoritism can never be assumed and so that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done to earn recognition. This is where those stories can come in handy, as examples of hard-earned praise.
There are many great customer service stories to be found, some more incredible than others. Here’s one we especially like and think you will enjoy it, too!
Some of our favorite awards for recognizing stellar customer service:
If you’d like to discuss implementing a recognition program within your company, as part of your business development strategy, give us a call today. Our own service stars are ready to help in any way they can!