I’ll be upfront with you: we often have a good deal yet we fail to recognize it. That is in not so many words the content of my post at the FC Expert blogs today.
Over the course of my career in marketing, I worked very closely with a number of highly skilled and universally loved customer service reps.
It never ceases to amaze me how hard it is for organizations to structure their business in a way that will let these people shine while they do what they do best. In many organization charts, customer service is seen as a support function. While I agree that this group needs to work in concert with everyone else, we need to rethink how we look at them in the context of the corporation.
This is your voice –- and your ears in the marketplace. What would happen if your customer service team...
- self organizes around the spot in the company that makes most sense for them to report to. For example, in a consumer products company they work directly with and report to marketing. Think about the qualitative market research possibilities.
- is rewarded on the basis of problems solved for the customer. For example, an organization uses those nice "this call may be monitored" initiatives to actually reward the rep who goes out to help a customer. If you do this, make sure you are giving the rep who takes accountability seriously the proper support.
- is recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty. For example, you have a company meeting, not a sales or marketing meeting and at that meeting you, company CEO, recognize those reps who have helped you design a better product and service thanks to their ability to channel feedback properly.
These are just some of the ideas. The fact that we call it customer service, while making use of appropriate terminology, is secondary to what we are trying to achieve: better relationships with our customers so we can learn how to deliver outstanding experiences. Customer conversations are not just a 'to do' on a long checklist, they are a must have.