The Six Customer Service Silver Bullets
Here are the six elements that can position your organization for customer service success. Although be forewarned: excellence in customer service and the customer experience isn’t a puzzle or riddle that can be solved once and for all. It’s going to require sustained diligence and focus, because inertia and pushback will otherwise inevitably set in. But here are the six best ways to get started.
1. Build a simple customer service statement of philosophy. I’m not talking about a philosophical statement that’s wordy and long, and destined for a dusty file cabinet. I’m talking about something short, memorable, and believable. The Mayo Clinic’s “The needs of the customer come first” is one of the best ever written. It’s seven words, every word is in English (as opposed to jargon and consultant-ese), and only one of those words is longer than a syllable. Because of the power of this approach, everybody at Mayo is able to learn this short, memorable credo from their first day of orientation–and to never forget it, as long as they’re employed.
2. Hire employees who possess the essential customer service traits. You can’t build a great customer service organization without the right people. These “right people” aren’t necessarily the ones who arrive at your organization with all of their technical skills and knowledge already in place; rather, they’re the ones with the essential personality traits that will allow them to ultimately succeed in doing a great job face-to face, or terminal to terminal, with customers–not to mention, being able to enjoy their responsibilities and tasks along the way
Here’s my list of the essential customer service /customer-facing/customer-centric traits. Since my list spells “WETCO,” I urge you not to reject out of hand my goofy (but effective) mnemonic device for remembering it: Think about a wet dog outside of PETCO and you’ll never forget these key traits.
Warmth: Simple human kindness.
Empathy: The ability to sense what another person is feeling.
Teamwork: An inclination toward ‘‘Let’s work together to make this happen’’ and against ‘‘I’d rather do it all myself.’’