Our company’s customer service is deteriorating. I have groups that do a great job handling the customer directly, but those that support them internally aren’t as conscientious. How do I increase our customer focus?
You have probably heard the saying, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. It sounds like you are experiencing that situation. Organizations spend large amounts of resources on establishing and protecting a brand, but nothing can destroy that image more than disappointed customers. Those customers don’t care where their support falters within your company; they just know it is your organization that is performing substandardly.
Here are a few suggestions that will help you make a difference both internally and to your external customer base;
1. Educate ALL your employees that everyone within the organization has a customer. Internal customers are those who depend on others to get what they need to perform their function satisfactorily.
2. Establish customer-centric training for your internal organization: Depending on the size of your organization, this could be an “all-hands meeting”, a brown-bag lunch gathering, a brainstorming session or a half-day retreat. Change does not happen without repetition, so plan to have these meetings until you begin to see evidence of improvement.
3. Identify who are the internal customers: Take each function and identify who is their customer and who do they rely on to get their objective completed. Everyone has a customer, and if they cannot identify who their customer is, then maybe the function should be eliminated.
4. Set measurable metrics and track them: Most organizations track external customer experience information through direct calls, surveys, etc.; do the same inside the organization.
5. Set goals and performance accountability responses: Each function should have an internal/external customer satisfaction goal and be held accountable for meeting those goals. Without accountability, there will be little change.
When you talk about widespread culture changes, always remember they take time, persistence and unwavering commitment if you are serious about change.
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