With all the talk of social media and its importance in marketing and lead development, sometimes the importance and value of the sales representative in the B-to-B environment are overlooked. This concept was reinforced to me this week while working on a project for a client.
We conduct product delivery surveys for this client, and these surveys are designed to measure customer satisfaction with the product and their sales process. Our client, like many, has a network of dealers that sell and support their products to the end-user. They wanted to know which of the questions on the survey were most strongly correlated with overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.
It is easy to write about the unimpressive customer service experiences as subpar customer service is more the norm than the exception. In this post, I would like to share a customer service experience that was quite pleasant even though the situation in which it was delivered is not where you typically find great service, healthcare.
We have been talking a lot about the importance of paying attention to the employee if you want to improve customer service (see earlier blog). The Gallup organization, better known perhaps for its political forecasting, has a very large business consulting operation. One of the things they have been finding through their research is the connection between engaged employees and loyal customers or the employee-customer relationship.
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.
I am pleased to announce that The Daniel Group, which helps B2B companies measure, manage, and improve their customer service, has been named to the Inc. 5000. This is the first time The Daniel Group has joined the prestigious list, which lists the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Inc. cited The Daniel Group for growing 60% in revenue in the last three years. The firm consults with B2B clients in the healthcare, manufacturing, construction, transportation and technology industries to develop customer retention strategies.
I am pleased to announce that Okuma America Corporation has implemented ServiceConnect by The Daniel Group. ServiceConnect is a proven way to measure, manage, and improve customer service. For more information, click here for the press release.
We are pleased to have Western States as a client. This dealer provides Caterpillar construction, power systems and truck products and services and agricultural equipment (AGCO) and services to Idaho and portions of four other surrounding states. They are noted for providing good customer service and are working to make it even better.