I could start this article with a list of the “Top Ten Ways to Deliver Great Customer Service.” Many of my articles begin in a similar way. But I am going to make this one much simpler. I’m not going to present ten ideas here, but simply one word.
And, that word is… alignment.
Perhaps the most important way to improve the service you deliver to your customers is to make sure that everyone in your organization is in alignment with the customer service and/or the customer experience vision. While the concept is just one word, there are several steps necessary to take to achieve that alignment.
The first step is to define your vision in simple and memorable terms.
In a previous article, I discuss the concept of creating your customer service mantra, which is my fancy way of describing a customer service vision statement. Before you can achieve alignment, you must give everyone in the organization something to align with. I prefer a vision statement or mantra that is short and to the point. So, if you don’t already have a vision for everyone to align with, get one!
After you craft a customer service vision statement – or mantra, as I like to call it – the next step is to show everyone in the organization how they are impacted by that vision. And, I mean everyone! Begin with a basic customer journey map that shows all of the typical interactions – or touchpoints – that your customers have when they come into contact with your business. You may find that you will need more than one map to adequately describe this journey, since many different journeys may exist. For instance, a customer’s sales journey may be different from a customer service or support journey. Further, the interactions a customer has on your company’s website will be different than interactions over the phone or in person.
A second part of the journey map exercise may be needed to show underneath each touchpoint how different departments and roles within those departments impact those touchpoints. If the journey maps are done correctly, you will eventually be able to show how each and every department – in other words, ultimately every employee – impacts the customer’s experience.
I’m surprised by the number of organizations who haven’t even yet created a single customer journey map, let alone multiple ones. However, this is an essential step before you can even think about getting your employees into alignment.
By getting everyone in the organization to know and understand your customer service vision, and showing them on journey maps how everyone, even as individuals, impacts the customer’s experience, you can begin to train the entire organization to your vision. Like many things in life, this process may be simple in concept, but is not always easy to do.
For this process to work, you must have an effective communication strategy for the vision. It can begin with an announcement. The mantra should be positioned as not only a vision, but also as an expectation that everyone must keep in the forefronts of their minds, regardless of their roles and responsibilities in the organization.
And just announcing and communicating the vision is not enough. Each and every employee must be properly trained. The vision must also constantly be reinforced by the leaders of the organization. The vision must be obvious and almost overt. For employees to be in alignment, they must know it, understand it, and be able to execute it.
Delivering great customer service isn’t just for the customer service department or the front line. It’s everyone’s job. So, if there is one thing that will make a difference in the way you service your customers, it is to get everyone in the organization in alignment with your customer service mantra.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
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