Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur

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How to get from where you are to where you want to be

5 Steps to Better Customer Service

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Sam Walton

In a world, where the dichotomy of being increasingly connected and at the same time equally disconnected from reality exists, customer service provides a critical touch point to maintain balance. Unfortunately, the emphasis on customer service begins at a much later stage in an organizational growth cycle, since it is not seen as a tangible profit point. However, this function does drive all other functions in an organization and developing a world class customer service center should be pivotal to startup strategy. Listed below are five steps that can help inculcate the correct culture and attitude towards this function.

1. Creating a culture: To create awareness and a dedicated focus on building a world class customer service function, senior management needs to champion such initiatives. They need to provide direction and set metrics, to ensure that a high degree of importance is given to it. Rewards and recognition should be given to team members who display high levels of competence in this function. To read more about how you can go about creating a correct culture please click here.

2. Hiring the right individuals: At your startup or organization, you need to have the right people in the right places. That is easier said than done. However, what you can do to eventually reach that goal, is to establish criteria and metrics to benchmark individuals by respective functions. Customer service is a department that requires a special type of person to head and organize it. The person needs to have specialised qualities which include knowing the difference between a job and a responsibility. To read more about the types of qualities required please click here.

3. Integrate technology: With an increased focus on increasing bottom line numbers, we need to utilize technology where ever possible to automate certain processes. In the customer service function there have been many developments which include, Interactive Voice Response systems and Customer Relationship Management software, to name a few. Your organization needs to find a correct balance to ensure that you provide the highest level of customer support, at the same time maintain a personal touch. To read more about how you can integrate technology with customer service functions please click here.

4. Learning from experience: In the process of setting up a company and managing customers, there will be times when delivery will slip and you will encounter customers who have not been well satisfied. It is essential that during these times a process is in place to document the complaints that are received to make sure that the reason for the problem is understood and factors put in place to avoid repeating them. Not learning from mistakes causes repetition  which will in turn prevent  you from moving forward. To learn more about the system please click here.

5. Exceeding expectations: Building complex products around patents will surely generate a substantial competitive advantage for your company. However, if you don’t have such a product and you consistently exceed your customers expectations you will be able to create a competitive edge which will be as substantial if not greater. The process of under-promising and over delivering has been a key to success for many organizations. It is the little things which count, before, during or after a sale. To learn some ways how you can start exceeding customer expectations please click here.

In the end it all boils down to whether the customer was satisfied with the product/service which was sold to them. If they were, then each one of them will become ambassadors for your organization, hence helping to generate greater sales and better bottom line results. Do not wait until you are a massive organization to start thinking about how to better customer service. Start now, whether you have one customer or none, it will pay dividends down the road.

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Filed under: Customer Service, Make it Work

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