It can be tricky figuring out where to start when embarking on a customer service overhaul/customer service turnaround effort. So let me share seven places I often find ripe for improvement when I’m brought in as a customer service consultant/customer service turnaround expert on such an initiative. Dive into all of them, or pick the one that seems most fruitful (or in the most dire shape), and get going!
Micah Solomon Senior Contributor
Small Business Strategy
I'm a customer experience consultant, keynote speaker, and author.
1. Work on how you initially meet your customers. The beginning of an interaction is more memorable than the middle, due to the psychological reality called the primacy effect. And don’t forget that there is almost always a “beginning before the beginning”: your customer is likely meeting you via a third-party online encounter, or in your correspondence, or via a drive-by, long before you are face-to-face–or terminal to terminal, as is likely these days.
2. Work on how you end your interactions with customers. As with the beginning, the ending of an interaction tends to disproportionately lodge in the customer’s memory, due to another psychological principle: the recency effect. Yet we are often so rushed to get to the next customer that we neglect this emotionally important moment with the customer at hand.
3. Improve and expand your self-service options. More customers than ever are comfortable with serving themselves, but only if your self-service is well designed and intuitive.
4. Consider bringing AI into the mix. This is no longer futuristic; it’s now-istic. You’d be amazed how valuable AI can be in augmenting human-delivered customer service. Remember: your customers already interact with the biggest AI in the world throughout their day (Google), and they will soon find it downright odd if your customer experience doesn’t make use of AI assistance as well.
5. Overhaul the way you select (hire) employees. Nothing is more important in providing a great customer experience finding employees who have a natural affinity for serving the public. For more on this subject, check out my blog article here.
6. Improve your onboarding. The way you begin a relationship with an employee–and they way they think of their work for your company right off the bat–is important to get right. You need them to be valuing what you value right from the get-go, or it can all go south. Check out my article on how onboarding became–in the hands of the legal department–“100 ways you can get fired by Hyatt,” and how important it was to get that fixed.
7. Obsess over talent management. Your attention to nurturing the great, and potentially great, employees who will make all the difference to the success of your customer experience shouldn’t end once you initially get them onboard. Continue to develop them and they’ll continue to reward your company–and the customers you serve–in new and creative ways. Here are more of my thoughts on talent management and the customer experience.
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