Consultant and knowledge sharing enthusiast
Focusing on the customer can help your Service Department work more efficiently and improve the relationships with your customers and colleagues. A big part of Customer Centricity is making sure your team adopts a customer-focused internal culture. Here are 4 steps to ensure that happens.
1. Understand your team dynamics
Depending on your organization and your hiring policies, you will most likely have a mix of different personalities on your team. Some are naturally very customer focused and who find it very easy to understand a customer’s more emotional needs. Then, there will then be others who prefer to focus on the more technical or systems side of their work, and who do not always acknowledge the need for customer centricity in the same way. This is normal – people are different. And this is a good thing. Having a good understanding around the balance of skills and attitudes in your team is extremely useful.
What I want to say is that it is important not see the weaker customer interactions in your team as something to drag you down. Instead, you should see the positive interactions as something to advocate, strive towards and use as a baseline for continual improvement.
2. Observe your team
We always recommend keeping tabs on your team, but take a week to really watch your team and the reactions they get from the customers they interact with. What you want to look out for are the really positive responses from customers. What made them excited? What made them grateful? What made them feel confident?
Document the reaction you saw in the customer then, more importantly, document the behaviors you saw your own staff use to achieve this. Over the week look for trends in positive behavior, then pick out the keywords you feel have the most consistent and significant impact.
Depending on the skills and characters in your team, you might see softer words coming to the forefront such as; friendly, helpful or patient. Alternatively, you may see more direct and enabling words come through such as; educational, honest or determined. There is no right or wrong answer, there is just what you see to be driving the greatest customer success stories on your Service Desk.
3. Speak to your team
The next step is to open the process up and get input from the wider team. This could start with just some informal discussions over coffee and cake - or you could run it as a full workshop. Do whatever you think will get your staff to open up and put forward their best ideas. Share your experiences, but keep in mind that people will have different opinions on these matters so be open minded.
Try to bring a list of customer-centric “behaviors” down to about 5 or 6 keywords. These words will guide how you move forward with the cultural improvements to your service, so it is important to make sure you feel they realistically represent your ambitions.
4. Draw up guidelines
Now, the next part is the bit that really matters. In order to provide you and your team with something to rally behind – use the keywords you identified to build a Customer Experience Charter. You will use this charter to help guide all the interactions your Service Desk have with customers. The most powerful element in this charter is that it came from inside the team.
Your Customer Experience Charter should be no longer than 5 or 6 points, and unlike some internal company value statements you might see, it can’t just consist of single words. These cannot be measured or validated as a behavior. So instead of using the word ‘Helpful’ by itself, you could say ‘Take every opportunity to offer helpful advice to our customers’, for example.
This is because you want to use your charter to regularly challenge and support your staff’s development. If you were to ask someone in your team ‘Have you helped people today?’ you will probably not get a very useful answer, but ‘Have you taken any opportunities to be helpful today’ gets a practical and honest answer.
Read more on better Customer Service in our Customer Centricity E-book.