The following is a guest blog provided by Jim Schmidt, President of Green Peg.
High-level best practices in customer service are necessary but require supporting framework for success. Let's say your group, that provides either internal or external customer service, now has a clear directive to "go the extra mile." That's a start, but is it enough to really make any lasting or measurable change? Will the customer experience be better? Unfortunately, it is very common for a directive like this to simply wither away without anyone even noticing or caring since everyone has "real" work to do anyway. The directive was a good first step but was severely lacking in enough structure, detail, context and examples that it was almost guaranteed to die.
The directive for employees to "go the extra mile" needs to follow a "strategic checklist" to ensure that there is a supporting framework for success. Here it is:
- Let people know how to do the specific things you are asking
- Let people know when to take these actions
- Give, and communicate, the authority to act
- Provide some concrete examples with context
- Communicate the parameters or constraints on the "extras"
- Give people some flexibility to carry out the actions
- Ensure that the culture rewards initiative
- Communicate and discuss successful examples routinely
- Cover the details during new-hire training
- Support the directive with sufficient documentation
- Maintain the positive "buzz" of the campaign
There are many more customer service principles like "go the extra mile" (e.g. "know your customers", "recover from mistakes", etc.) that also require this sort of structure before the principle turns into a reality.
The Green Peg Community is a media partner of Loyalty World Canada, taking place in Toronto this coming March.