The number one piece of advice we can give you for improving customer service is this: know your business, inside and out.
Sounds easy, right? In most cases, not so much.
Knowing your business means knowing everything about your business. The considerations can be overwhelming: what you need to build your product, your supplies, your suppliers and their delivery times, your lead times, your turnaround times, your employees and their skills (what they are good at and what they aren’t), how long it takes to train a new employee, your turnover rate, your growth rate, your profitability, the cost of doing business, where you are getting your next customer, how you advertise, messages you send out to your prospects, your mission and WHY you are in business—and that’s just the short list.
To provide not just excellent but REMARKABLE customer service, you need to dig deep and get to know your business.
Every aspect of your business affects your customers, from why you are in business to how you produce your products and get them into the hands of your customers. If you don’t know your suppliers, you won’t know whether you are able to send them a large order and get the product to your customer in time. If you don’t know your turnover rate, you don’t know how fast you can grow your business. If your front line doesn’t know how many units they need to produce each day to fulfill orders, you won’t be able to keep up with customer demand. It all goes hand in hand. So where do you start? We suggest you start on the shop floor.
Get to know your front line. Get measurements in place.
- Do you know what you need to measure?
- Do you know what success looks like on a daily basis?
- Does your team know what success looks like?
- Do you know why the lines shut down?
Understand your front line’s challenges and needs. Figure out what they do best—who is the best machinist? Who is best at organizing the floor? Who is a stickler for meeting deadlines? Who is the relationship builder? Look at every aspect of production and make sure your front line knows how to run the business. Make sure they know their production capacity. Make sure you are aware of issues, returns and missed deliveries, and work to improve so you can impress your customers.
Mistakes happen. Delivery dates are missed. Products arrive damaged. This shouldn’t be the norm, however, and your team should be continuously improving the processes to avoid the same issue twice. If your customers know you are always working to improve, concerned about their needs and focused on their success—whether you are producing parts for a major manufacturer or a product for the end user—they will appreciate your efforts and, in most cases, work with you when there is an issue or concern rather than running.
- 76% of consumers view customer service as the best indicator of how much a company values their customers. Makes sense, right? Aside from the business development team, your customer service team is typically the first line of defense or interaction with your customers. Make sure they are equipped and set up for success with the knowledge they need to answer questions, set expectations and manage the customer experience.
- 45% of consumers can’t recall a recent customer service interaction that has been positive. When your customers hang up the phone, how do they feel? Frustrated? Satisfied? Enlightened? Excited? Do you review calls with your team and work on continuous improvement efforts?
- 55% of consumers have backed out of a transaction due to poor customer service. In many cases, a frustrated customer is the result of the customer service rep not knowing or understanding the business. Is this their fault? Or the fault of their leader? Have they been trained properly? Do they understand the business? If not, it’s time for you to take the first step toward really focusing on the customer experience and diving in to the details of your business so every call can be handled properly, promptly and with positive results.
Your customers should be your top priority in any decision you make each day. Keep them happy and you will keep them coming back for more.
Learn more about how we implement continuous improvement practices in the organizations we work with using our Run Improve Grow® method. Run Improve Grow (RIG) is a proven methodology designed to help organizations move from a place of struggle to a place of joy and engagement—from mediocrity to true excellence.
RIG is based on the sound business principle that your organization’s success is determined by where people spend their time. While your frontline leaders are managing the daily RUN of the business, middle management should be focusing on proactive process IMPROVEments, freeing the executives to work on GROWth initiatives.
The implementation of Run Improve Grow results in organizations finally arriving at consistent, excellent performance, free of dramatic ups and downs. Proper RIG implementation improves everything from production issues, managing your supply chain, on-time delivery, employee retention, customer service and everything in between.