If your business has specific ‘black and white’ written instructions or systems to deal with customer service issues that arise time and time again – your customers will benefit with good service, and your front line employees will have satisfaction in resolving issues themselves.
Remember – Grey and fuzzy causes problems – black and white solves problems.
An example: Do you assume every customer service problem that comes up is unique? Are your front line employees advised to deal with customer service issues?
The following may be happening in your business:
Mr. Customer to your Front Line Employee: “I have a customer service issue for you to help me with.”
Front Line Employee: “Well I would like to help you but our policy is a little gray and fuzzy so I have to ask my boss about what to do in your situation. But he is not here right now so do you mind if I leave you all frustrated for as long as it takes for me to find the answer?”
Mr. Customer: “I would prefer a resolution right away please. And by the way, if I can get a satisfactory resolution to my problem (quicker is more satisfactory by the way) I will become a more loyal advocate for your business than a customer who didn’t even have a problem.”
Front Line Employee: “Well just so you know, my boss doesn’t understand this and would prefer the more inefficient gray and fuzzy way of dealing with all the problems himself in order to make sure I don’t screw anything up.”
Mr. Customer: “This is not leaving a good impression with me. Good-bye.”
If you spend a little time analyzing the customer service issues that come up there will be many different ones. However, there will be some situations that come up time and time again.
These are the issues that need to be converted to black and white systems for resolving problems immediately at the front line. There is no downside to doing this.
Here is the upside:
1) The boss doesn’t have to deal with every single customer service issue. This frees up time for the business owner to give more attention to the exceptional issues.
2) The front line employee is now empowered with some responsibility and will also enjoy the responsibility to solve a problem and have the customer thank them for it.
3) The customer is happy because they got their problem solved right away. Over the longer time, with less ‘fires to put out’ the customer service department can continue to be more proactive and handle more responsibility.
Heck, maybe they will even get time to look into what is causing the recurring problems they are dealing with and see if there is a way to proactively eliminate the particular problem from happening.
There is also no downside to doing that either!
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