Do you think that customer service is only for those who have that phrase as part of their job title?
If that’s the case, then you’re wrong.
As more and more organisations realise that “customer service is the new marketing” as coined by Derek Sivers of CD Baby, greater emphasis is being placed on the contribution that all staff make towards improving the customer experience.
Whatever position you hold in a company, whether you ever see or interact with any clients or customers in the course of your day’s work or not – you have a significant part to play.
Take Joe for example, he’s an in-store cleaner. Most of the time he’s pretty much invisible as most of his work is done when the store is closed.
But just because he doesn’t directly sell anything to anyone, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t play a very key part. If he didn’t do his job well, the customers’ shopping experience would be marred as they would avoid spending their money in an environment that wasn’t hygienic.
This principle extends beyond the immediate customer facing environment to those working in head office roles such as Finance, Communications and HR.
While these departments do not deal with customers directly, the decisions taken there certainly do have an impact on how your customers interact with your company, and how they feel while they’re doing it.
Money, Money, Money
The task of Finance is to keep all the money in the right place, especially if there are shareholders to keep happy.
But overly strict policies relating to refunds and gestures of goodwill can actually have an adverse effect on how customers perceive doing business with you, and reduce loyalty and the intention to repeat purchase.
It’s Good to Talk
Effective internal communication is vital, this is even more so with larger companies with a myriad of separate teams.
Decisions taken at the top that are poorly explained to all relevant employees will have a direct impact on how well the front line staff do their jobs.
Changes in the refund policy for example need to be properly understood by those responsible for administering it, or it is likely that they will be working to a less customer friendly set of rules than is necessary.
HR has a hugely important part to play because they deal with the recruitment and training of the staff who serve the customers.
If there are inadequacies in the training programmes made available for ongoing staff development then this will show up in the attitudes of the staff.
Where they do not feel any investment in themselves from their leaders, then this is likely to lead to a high rate of turnover.
Third Party Involvement
Going a step further, it is not only those inside your business that can have a positive or negative impact on the overall customer experience of buying from you.
Those you contract in to supply services such as order fulfillment, distribution and delivery to a customer or client have their part to play.
In 2015 online sales in the UK totaled £114 billion, according to recent figures from IMRG Capgemini. This represents growth of 11%, which illustrates that this in an increasingly important revenue stream.
So if a product ordered on your website becomes damaged in transit, and it is then delivered by a driver who is rude an abrupt, it is your brand and business reputation that stands to suffer.
Even though your organisation was not directly responsible for the issue. The customer will look to you to rectify that situation.
There is nothing more frustrating than being told by a smug representative over the phone that problems with delivery are not their problem, leaving the customer to put in extra effort contacting a third party to seek redress.
So whatever position you hold within your company, consider yourself firmly in the business of customer service, and think about how what you do impacts on the customers and clients who choose to spend their money with you.
What do you think about this? Share your opinions and join in the debate.
Finer Future provides practical consultancy that helps improve your customer experience.