Unsatisfactory customer service is not a new phenomenon. Everyone has experienced less than satisfying customer experience. The barista who got the order wrong to the sales representative who provided incorrect information on a purchase not only causes inconvenience on a personal note but tends to disrupt the systems in place that would usually have kept the process smooth. This raises the question of whether these systems and processes are effective and garners optimum results.
More often than not, customer service failure occurs because of disconnection within departments and this is typically preventable. As a customer, a disorganized approach equals loss of credibility for the company and this can be a potential loss to the business.
The ability to provide good customer experience requires support between three crucial departments: sales, marketing and customer service. Due to complex structures, larger organizations often struggle to achieve this. The key to overcoming this is by reducing any uncertainty between the departments by establishing clear and unified goals, roles and effective communication.
Step 1: Evaluate Existing Processes
Assessing key weaknesses is the best way to begin establishing rules for improvement. This Step helps capture a holistic viewpoint of the systems and processes in place and evaluate its ability to effectively meet and even surpass customer’s expectations. A helpful method of identifying these gaps and providing an effective way of tackling them is by using a GRID survey. It provides a comprehensive evaluation of a team’s performance when working between departments. In fact, the GRID survey not only helps gauge the discrepancies but it helps identify the areas where improvement is required.
Step 2: Creating a Collaborative Culture
It is vital that leaders enable their teams to form and embrace a collaborative culture, bridging the gaps identified in Step 1. The foundation to collaboration is the development of inter-team relationships and the establishment of trust between team members. The challenges faced are especially unique as it is an on-going effort. The best way to establish a foundation of trust and encourage effective communication is through corporate team building activities. Team leaders should also clarify decision-making authority and use performance management systems to support the shared results. Collaborative tools in conjunction with regular corporate team building activities is a step towards meeting customer’s expectations of satisfactory service.
Step 3: Determine Service Level Agreements to Measure Goals
Identifying gaps and setting a foundation of collaboration will now allow the organization to begin cultivating an effective holistic process. By creating SLAs for teams within the sales, marketing, and customer service departments, team Leaders can set well-defined, timely goals. The Service Level Agreement helps describe the goals for each team and team member alike and through regular reviews, progress can be identified and feedback discussed to better the process all the more.
The use of the above steps as a framework will allow departments to function seamlessly. This in turn will result in a smoother and more satisfying experience for customers.