Where are you now – rate yourself
You really might not want to read this eNews as company’s
are surprised where their company value stands. (This applies to companies and organizations)Today’s news - How to measure your company’s value in customer service excellence?Score your company’s competitive advantage based on your customer serviceJust as in a company valuation, the higher the value the more likely the buyer is to buy.
How will your company fair in
the future – fall behind, stay at parity or have the internal strength and positioning to grow.
It all starts from the inside out.
Hmmm, sounds like a personal growth program where the guru tells you that you must change inside before the outside
Your company’s value or worth can be determined in several ways. This
is a maturity continuum (the stronger the customer service structure the greater the maturity). Another
is a strengths and opportunities review which we use when we launch an engagement with a company.
This week is a focus on
the question - how mature are you in your customer service – the more mature the greater the value.
RATE YOURSELFRate each of the 10 customer service excellence aspects below. The aspects
match the 4 Critical Success Factors for any high performing company – people, culture, processes, resourcesRate each point as follows:-1
if your company does not do this or does it very poorly or inconsistently0 if your company does it at a fair level of
your company does this well or at a pretty consistent level
Add your -1 scores, 0 scores, +1 scoresSubtract your minus scores from the plus scores (your score can be a minus). The 0
score neutralizes any overall score. For example, you have 5 +1’s, 3 -1’s and 2 0’s.
The score is +2 but the 0’s bring the score to fair. If you have questions, please call 6855-3896.+10 to 0 Your company has a mature foundation for positive growth and a competitive
advantage in the market place. 0
Your company is at a decision point – to stay at parity, more forward or fall behind.-10 up to 0 shows that you are rapidly losing market share. The closer to
-10 the greater and the more rapid the lose. This is a company without much customer centricity and an orientation toward
internal processes without the balance or focus between company and customer. www.ics-panama.com To
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experience is measured through technology (simple methods or sophisticated software) and by every employee. (Be
careful – most companies leave out employee evaluation as a method to heighten employee awareness about customer service
excellence.) Score _______
Relationship technology and social media are used and tailored to customer’s needs and
Customers can be referred to the same service
provider or representative. Score_______
The customer service experience strategy
is developed with the input of everyone. Score______
Customer service providers
support each other to keep the bar of quality high and consistent. Score______
in the chain of production or the service delivery, whether direct or indirect, understands specifically how they impact customer
service excellence and the consequences to the business if the chain is broken. Score______
and employee performance reviews include customer service excellence measurements. Score______
policies and processes are frequently reviewed to determine the positive or negative impact on the customer. Score______
are reassigned if they consistently break the chain of customer service excellence. Score______
are offered rewarding employees and customers. Score______
Next week, will be the
second method used to score your customer service index.
The Institute has in-depth diagnostic questionnaires to use
in identifying very specific areas that are opportunities to capture competitive advantage.
The Ecosystem of Customer Service
Today’s news – There is an entire ecosystem for customers
and employees which impacts service excellence.
call came in from a call center saying their customer service rating was falling very low and they felt it was due to the
unusually high attrition rate. They couldn’t understand why so many people were leaving.
What was the ecosystem that had been created that drove employees away? The same questions can be framed for the customer.
Please read and re-read this eNews. It
is a true story and it has many truths folded into it that weave parallel paths with creating a healthy, profit producing
environment.When we begin to understand the ecosystem
of customer service it is much like Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth – and there are many key and critical parts to
it. The environment is all one, whether it is the customer or the provider of customer service.
You can substitute the word customer for employee in the following case study. This is a look at the internal workings of one company’s ecosystem which was falling apart.First –what do employees experience when they first walk into the business?In this case the ads, placed in newspapers, radio, TV and on the Web talked about being a warm
and friendly place, a nice environment and comfortable. (Same statements said to customers about how positive it is to do
business with any particular company.)
The reality was when people walked in it was to a cold, stark reception area, a few pictures
of employee events hung around, a few computers for tests and a large locked door which said KEEP OUT. The
receptionist didn’t smile and barely looked up. They had just had the area painted blue – one
of the colors listed on the cool side of the color chart. An inconvenient truth about the environment and
Second – why were the
people leaving?They did have exit questions. (Just as we ask
The reality was the exit “form” was found in a box at the receptionist’s desk. People
filled out the form and left it with the receptionist. Upon doing more investigation, it was discovered
that many of the employees leaving went to employment agencies to find another position. After asking the
agencies what they heard from people leaving the call center, the answer was consistent from agency to agency – bad
management. Definitely an inconvenient truth about the ecosystem.
Third – was there a tipping point? A tipping
point is when several events build up leading to a specific behavior or decision which may be good or negative.
(As with customers, without careful attention to these accumulating events, customers can be gone or become loyal customers)
The reality was
that management was the tipping point. Other factors that had been building were the working conditions.
The center was poorly ventilated and poorly lit with some areas hot, others cold, others bright, others dark.
The break room was far from comfortable but it did have popcorn. The game area was where the employees
could sit down (after sitting all day) and play video games on a computer (similar to what they had been working on all day).
employees were interviewed, there was much discontent because they were never told about doing a good job only told when they
had done something wrong.
Just so you know the end of this story – extensive training was done with the
management team, the environment was changed, behaviors were trained to match service expectations and messaging and a retention
plan was structured. They are currently at normal attrition rates for a call center.
Most importantly, in this case study, it was an entire ecosystem that was breaking down –
employee attitudes and behaviors, management approaches and the physical environment - all impacting the
If you have any questions about this case study or the customer service ecosystem, please call
6855-3896. www.ics-panama.com or the blog at www.icspanama.wordpress.com or Twitter at http://twitter.com/icspanama
Other news from the Institute
A Customer Service Master Plan Board is being created to establish an overall customer service excellence plan for
Panama; a Knowledge Board is being put together with people that have extensive experience in customer service excellence
and an Advisory Board which will be made up of frontline service providers.
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Today’s eNews - How to get customer service training to stick For years companies have spent a great deal of money on customer service training with results
that are frequently disappointing. Why is training so hard to stick and translate into on-going results?
It is very common for people to say, “We did training and
it was good – people liked it but they get back to work and in a short period of time it is like they never went to
training.”The answers we know that cause training to not
stick are: · a culture of customer service does not exist,· there isn’t a passionate executive driving the customer service excellence effort, ·
there is not a customer service plan, ·
there are not daily discussions or weekly meetings about the
importance of customer service excellence,· nor frequent trainings.
It is one of the goals of the Institute to introduce fresh ideas and to revisit
traditional ideas that might work in a reinvigorated environment.
popular book, Made To Stick (Chip Heath and Dan Heath), researched what makes ideas stick. Some stick and
others we never hear about again. The same amount of research has been done with training and we know how
to make it stick. Above are five ways to achieve made to stick training. Here are three more:
· made to stick training,· made to stick education, ·
made to stick customers.Made to stick trainingHow is
training re-enforced? Let’s say time management training was just completed because customers were giving a lot of feedback
that calls weren’t returned in a timely manner. To get training to stick several
companies begin their day as a company or in departments as teams with something fun. It launches the day in connection with
recent training: for example, a skit with several people playing musical chairs with play telephones running
to get to the next one until the ringing stops. There are many possibilities but they start with fun and
go to a serious message. It can all happen in 5 minutes and elevates the value of the training.
Made to stick training=attach it to re-enforcement and fun. Made
to stick educationA recent article in Chief Learning Officer (Executive
Briefings, Oct 2009) magazine talked about another approach to use and that is changing the terminology from training to education.
Viewing customer service excellence in terms of education gives it a long term view. Training is
always a one course topic and it is over. Education goes on over a long period of time, allows a customer
service language to evolve and a common knowledge base for customer service.
To build on the term education –
what if the actual people - the customer contact people and touch point people, those involved in customer service
excellence, created an education program? What would they want included in their education program? What
would they choose to study in that semester? How would it be delivered? Another idea
- what if they did the research, built the course and delivered it? Build components as teams? When
you are involved in an education program, for a semester, a year, four years, it is becomes very sticky. (If
you are interested in an on-going customer service education program – call the Institute at 6855-3896)
Made to stick customer
There has been a lot in the
news about the Nobel Peace Prize. What if a Noble Prize for Customer Service Excellence was awarded?
Note the difference in spelling and meaning. Customer Service Excellence is very noble. What
would people have to do to win it? What if you were awakened at 6 am like President and Mrs. Obama were
awakened with the news but you had won the Noble Prize for Customer Service Excellence? You or your company
were going to be given the award – not $1M – maybe $5,000 or $10,000 at a very elegant ceremony. How
many made to stick customers would your company end up with – during the process of earning the award and in attracting
people to your business to experience your service excellence afterwards?
Next week – Ways to Out-Service Your Competition
www.icspanama.wrdpress.com for the blog
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What is the Role of the Manager in the Companies with the Highest Number of Loyal Customers?Today’s eNews – Research is being widely reported this month as 2009 comes to
an end. People are keen to see the results as the world has changed so dramatically and customer service
excellence receives the primary focus for business growth and profitability. Customer service excellence
and profits are tightly linked. Here is a three part plan based
on the latest research and the role of the manager:
#1 – First is still customer
service excellence led by a passionate leader – the manager. There is a wealth of
evidence currently compiled showing the value and profitability of very high quality customer service excellence.
Yet, managers still will ask to see the proof of the value to the bottom line. We have gone past
that discussion and now the focus must be on the question – “how do I, the manager, lead our charge with passion
and commitment?” The less the manager is involved the lower the profits.
How do you get involved?
How to lead with passion? Know what your customers think about you, your product and your service,
understand and feel the importance of engaged employees, be a role model for customer service excellence and how you serve
your employees, talk to people about customer service excellence, compliment employees, work on the frontline for an hour
or two, take a course in leadership (we have one), read books, think about other times when you felt passionate about something
and bring that into your customer service plan, create a customer service excellence strategy, tell people the difference
between customer service and customer service excellence. This type of leadership is
inspirational, modeling behavior and walking the talk.
#2 – Second, these companies with high
numbers of loyal customers have a set standard for the customers’ experiences. This means
that management initiated meetings to determine what customers wanted in terms of service excellence. Standards were then
set. Some of these standards are based on the customers’ response to these example questions (in
a survey there are many more question):
What is your overall satisfaction with our
product and service? Why?
To what extent has our product and service met your expectations? How?
How well do our products
and services compare with an ideal in our industry? In what way?
Everyone must be trained around these standards.
These standards are based on what the customer says they expect, how they get satisfied and what
defines their ideal. Daily or weekly these satisfaction points are discussed with employees, researched
and adjustments are made quickly to keep the standards high.
#3 –Managers of these
companies understand and act on the following numbers:
have a positive impact on customer loyalty and retention: 92% of loyal employees do tasks for customers ‘above and beyond
the call of duty’,
only 54% of trapped and high risk employees do so.” Source: Vovici
question then becomes, what is the role of management in creating loyal employees that build loyal customers?
For many companies this is a big challenge. The reason being that at this particular point in history,
all of us – no matter the age - are still influenced by manager/employee relations based on an industrial era hierarchical
model. Today, as the world has dramatically changed, employees need to “experience” their role
in the customer service chain, their value, their contributions and have input to influence results.
some of the questions developed by The Gallop Organization after hundreds of focus groups and thousands of interviews correlating
performance and employee engagement. The higher the positive score on the questions, the greater the employee
loyalty and the higher their performance in productivity and customer service excellence.
your opinions seem to count when offered at work?
Have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing a good job?
At work, do you have
the opportunity to do what you do best?
Is there someone at work encouraging your development?
In summary, as a manager there are tremendous responsibilities to further
profitability through customer service excellence – know you have to be a leader, create customer service excellence
standards, and make sure you have loyal employees because you will have more loyal customers.
The Institute of Customer Service-Panama
is an advocacy body and as such, many suggestions are offered in the eNews to get companies started in the right direction.
However, when you need help, we also have excellent services to support your efforts, or if you just have questions,
please call 6855-3896.
www.icspanama.wordpress.com for the blog
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This issue is part of a series on Change
eNews Today – How do you know if you will need to
change to provide customer service excellence?Customers
and clients have plenty to say about the company or services they do business with and give their money to. How
are you finding out what they are saying to each other about you? How are you discovering what they think
about your sales people, your support service, your frontline? How much profit would go to your bottom
line if you knew a key account could be saved?
Do you have a method to track what customers
are saying about you on any of the social media networks? Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs
Do you have a strategy to
relate to the new social customer?
Do you have an organized process to capture and distribute customer insights?
Have you determined whether
customer segmentation is a strategy for your company?
Whether you are a bank, a call center, a retail store, a professional service,
a resort, etc., customers are forcing change. You can’t just manage the customer
relationship; you have to control the customer experience.
The first step in change is to be curious – where is your customers’
service experience given the critical importance of customer service excellence to profitability?
The second step is to determine
where you want to be in increasing your profitability. Given Panama’s increasing
global position, customer service excellence has to be taken as an evolutionary process.
The third step
is to look at the gap between where you are and where you need to be, and how to get from one point to the other.
(The Institute of Customer Service-Panama can take you through these steps)
Getting there involves change. These
are the change phases you can likely expect to go through as you meet the changing environment of providing customer service
We can’t because….(the “reason” is heard all the time
by all types of companies)
But what if we don’t…(will our competition pass us by, will we lose customers)
Negotiate and bargain with
yourself (maybe change a little here or there)
Confusion (how big is this going to have to be, what will people say, don’t know where to begin)
Acceptance (okay, let’s
Experimentation (how, where, when, what, why)
Discovery and delight (this really does work and people seem
to be happy, customers and employees alike)
Measuring success (Profits are increasing so let’s start over because next time it is easier)
is about learning and continuous improvement. Particularly fitting here is a repeat of a quote from last week:
of change the learners will inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to live in a world that
no longer exists.” Eric Hoffer
Panama is playing a key role in the changing world of global business and can lead in many ways including
customer service excellence. As the world changes and Panama plays a bigger role, how are we evolving
in customer service excellence to keep pace and lead the way?
Call 6855-3896 for training,
solutions, social networking, strategies, gap analysis, service critiques.
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Sales is the Intimate Link with Customer Service ExcellenceToday’s
news – Everything is customer-centric today. The approach to sales is every bit a part of
the changing world – customers are attracted, developed, acquired and kept based on service. For potential clients, the salespeople build the relationship but sales have been very powerfully
impacted by the new dimensions of customer service excellence. It is about listening, questioning, mutual
problem solving, giving information to solve a challenge, promptness, caring. As the sale progresses, everyone
in the company is in customer service/sales. If you
look at the new sales approaches they are very customer-centric, such as solution selling, provocation-based selling or
identity-based selling to mention a few.It used to be
“sales” told about their great product (features and benefits) and the wonderful company. In
a company I worked with they used to say, “show up and throw up.” For example, the potential client’s most senior executives would be flown in, they
would sit around a highly polished wooden conference table with an on-going parade of presentations about products and the
features and benefits - that was called sales would “show up and throw up.”
Frightening that many companies still sell as “sales” and not customer-centric. If the customer service excellence chain is not being monitored,
sales gets the penalty. They lose a customer that sales had to work hard to get and now
they have to find a new one. Customer service excellence is a tightly linked chain.
In a recent customer
satisfaction index a telecommunications company received low marks in one area which was driving customers away – sales
(delayed quotes, lack of follow up, lack of understanding of the customer’s complete situation, lack of shared
solution building). They received high marks in access to information, support when after sales
problems arose and breadth of product offerings.
Serving others is the only way to serve your own best
For example, while working for a large high tech company where sales, marketing and
customer service were intimately interlinked here is what was done: (Please note the mindset in serving
customers and wooing potential customers. Creatively think through a scenario for your sales. It is fun.)
At a trade show all names
were received ahead of time and contacts made with key clients and potential key clients. These
contacts were conversational and engaging (gaining insights). Information was posted and coordinated into
a database. One of the things many key clients complained about in the conversation was the transportation
to the convention center.
Special buses were chartered and identified clients received a boarding ticket. Once
on the bus each seat had a bottle of water with the company name on it and other bottles were passed out as people left the
bus. Due to the extremely hot weather, both gestures were appreciated.
What did the most profitable customers value?
Relaxation and downtime at the
end of the trade show day. The special buses were waiting with refreshing drinks before boarding.
Once on the bus a comedian got everyone laughing and talking to each other (networking for them). At
the hotel several hosted parties were being held but most of the 50 people on the special bus chose to attend our event.
The sale can be a multi-million
dollar property, a million dollar high tech system, a hotel room, a hundred dollar phone, or a man’s
or woman’s suit. The marketing department develops your messaging (your promise), the sales department
discovers clients needs (their challenges). Delivering on promises and addressing challenges is everyone’s
part in customer service excellence.
Sales has now become a service. (Call
if you want an experienced customer-centric sales person to train in your company – 6855-3896.)
What makes customer-centric
sales especially exciting is figuring out how to WOW customers with remarkable service and build
Are you using old approaches
you applying customer-centric approaches?
What are your challenges
in transitioning from sales to customer relationship management to customer experience management to customer-centric sales?
For information, call
us at 6855-3896.
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eNews – Discovering your Way, a very powerful customer service excellence tool for building loyal customers
and employees. In talking with a friend
about the Institute’s program – Establishing Standards – The Way – he said he remembered
from over 20 years ago when he worked with the Marriott about “The Marriott Way.” So much of
what everyone did focused around “The Marriott Way” that he never forgot
What is The Way? The Way is a very “sticky”
strategic message to focus attention, accountability, processes and greater customer service excellence. It
is your promise to your customers. It becomes your brand. It is your standards around
which everyone and everything focuses.
On the Marriott Hotel website it says, “This is the ‘Marriott
Way’. It’s about serving the associates, the customer and the community. Marriott’s fundamental
beliefs are enduring and the keys to its continued success.” Service is their promise. Bill
Marriott firmly believes that this has been the core principle that has led to their worldwide success.
likely have as their “Way” – friendliness, consistency, responsibility. This is their promise. Everyone
smiles, the coffee and environment are very reliable and they are broadly responsible to associates, customers and the world
environment. By the way, Schultz visits 25 stores every week to check customer satisfaction and customer
If you read CableOnda’s site it says, Todo lo que necesitas en un solo lugar.
One of the elements of their Way could be convenience. They promise convenience.
At the Institute our Way is “Inspiring,
Educating, Appreciating.” We promise to inspire you to take the next steps in excellence, we
educate people and companies in how to do that and we appreciate your efforts and you.
The KEY is - how do you keep the promise? When 86% of customers leave because
of customer service, a promise has been broken. The
Way is at the core of everything that is done –sales, support, delivery, services, development,etc.
The Way eliminates confusion
when one person thinks one way and another person has a different understanding of standards of service.
With having The Way, the customer service chain is rarely broken. If it is broken, you know where
to train and what to train for.
is a constant loop of feedback with an increasing force of strength focusing on attention, accountability, processes and remarkable
customer service excellence. The power
comes from everyone knowing The Way. Management uses it daily, behaviors are transparent following the
guidelines of The Way and employees support each other in delivering your Way. It becomes
a culture of coaching and accountability. People are focused and understand how to be consistent in providing
service using your Way. It is not random but targeted.
Additionally, it does not stop with
your customer service excellence. The Way provides the guidelines for behaviors internally – management
to employees, employees to management and peer to peer.
As an example think about
your Way, if one of the three attributes is “respect,” what does it mean to not only have “respect”
as one of your guiding principles for customers and your service but what does it also mean to your employees and your employees
to each other?
You have a very powerful tool when you develop your Way.
Our workshop in Establishing Standards – The
Way, includes bringing key people together to develop your Way,
the principles, values, paradigms and behaviors for customer service excellence leading to defining The Way.
Behaviors supporting The Way.
How will this be implemented
Driving forces and restricting forces
Processes and accountabilities
A manual is put together on your Way to be used by you to train others
6855-3896 for information. www.ics-panama.com
The next eNews will be the first week in
January 2010. We sincerely appreciate all the positive feedback from our readers. It
is very much appreciated.
“Customers want and
need more, and will generously reward those brands who make them feel important and valued with additional spending and referrals.”
Rob Rush, There’s No Recession on Guest Expectations
We can only
achieve the goal of having Panama be recognized worldwide for its customer service excellence when we work
as a team providing remarkable services one customer at a time.
and Happy New Year!
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