I could write a lot about why it is important to make customer service a big deal. I have done posts in the past on this subject and will do more in the future. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting a client that has come up with an approach that is helping the company deliver great customer service.
First, something about the company; it is a large distributor of material handling equipment and related engineering services. It covers a seven state region in the US. Management decided a bit over one year ago that having truly superior customer service was an important key to their future success. They implemented our ServiceConnect process and have shown steady improvement in the quality of their customer service.
One of the things they do, which has proven to be extremely effective at getting employees engaged in their service improvement efforts, is the monthly performance review meetings. At each branch (there are about 40) the entire group of workers meets to review the branch’s performance not only on service but also other key performance indicators.
What makes their process a bit unique is that the managers do not lead the review session; front-line employees do! They have trained certain employees to facilitate the meetings. The meetings are short and have a defined time limit. In fact, in some locations, the managers do not attend the meetings unless asked. In the case of customer service, they review each survey done for the branch that month and identify ways to improve. If the customer needs a call for more information, someone is assigned the duty. If issues come out of the meeting requiring help from more senior people, these are brought to the attention of the appropriate manager.
When I asked senior managers how this was working. The response was a uniform, “Great.” As one manager said, “Having the monthly meetings puts accountability for service improvement with everyone, including the front-line employees. They know why customers are happy or not with their service. This makes customer service a “big deal” for everyone.”
Not much else I can add to this story other than to say this company has discovered one way to make customer service a very big deal.