The Ins & Outs of Customer Service
This month in JoTo DIY, we are going to discuss customer service. As we briefly mentioned above, delivering exceptional customer service is worth its weight in gold because it creates tremendous word of mouth. It is like prospecting from every division and department in your company. The smile of the receptionist when he/she answers the phone, the fast turn-around time, listening to clients or acknowledging important communications – there are TONS of ways to deliver exceptional customer service. It creates good will, which is essentially the result of correctly applied Public Relations.
PR gets you a good reputation, better employees, 3rd-party credibility, endorsements from the community. In mergers and acquisitions today, the goodwill factor is coming a part of standard valuations done and can bring beaucoup bucks to the table. How much money are you missing out on when you do not take into account how your RELATIONS with the PUBLIC is affecting your bottom line.
Publicity is only one tiny part of PR. Your PR starts with you, the CEO, the management team and filters down to your employees.
Putting Customer Service on the Fast Track
Running a good business has EVERYTHING to do with good public relations. You could get all the publicity in the world, but eventually a poorly-run business will create such negative public relations that no amount of publicity will be able to handle it. Think of the reputation that both General Motors and Chrysler garnered when they travelled to Washington hats in hand looking for bailout money. Contrast this with Ford which did not take any. Another great example is the financial industry which may be doing better for their stockholders but in the eyes of the consumer look upon as the evil empire and cannot be trusted. In fact, I think that used car dealers come up higher on the trust scale than bankers. It is going to take a lot of work to re-instill public confidence in most big banks.
Executives and CEO’s in particular need to look at their companies from the outside in. You cannot live in an ivory tower. You have to get down into the trenches and observe/participate in the entire process. Take the time to look for bottlenecks, places where policy is not known, used or established; smooth out the lines so these areas are handled. Watch the process in action, determine areas where employees need guidance and document the process. And yes quality control those products that are going out to your clients.
A Simple DIY Trick
Ever wonder how your customers are being treated? There is a simple way to find out, just call into your own company and act like a prospective client – you would be amazed at what they are being told, or how they are treated.
In other words – WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS, NOT IN IT AND SEE WHAT IS GOING ON FROM THE CLIENTS’/CUSTOMERS’ PERSPECTIVE AND MAKE THE PROCESS, PEOPLE AND BUSINESS MORE CUSTOMER SERVICE FRIENDLY WIHTOUT VIOLATING YOUR SERVICE/PRODUCT INTEGRITY.
One of my favorite shows features CEO’s going to work for their own companies in line type positions. It’s called Undercover Boss and it teaches the top guys some very important lessons. Here’s one undercover boss:
Chancellor of University of California, Riverside
White received his Ph.D. in exercise physiology from UC Berkeley and spent two years as a post-doctoral scholar in physiology at the University of Michigan.
Why the boss wants to go undercover:
The boss wants to go undercover to see how his decisions as Chancellor have affected life on campus. He hopes to gain perspective through the students and faculty and learn how to better facilitate their needs. Through this journey he hopes to discover ways to improve the overall college experience.
Jobs That He Will Do While Undercover:
Assistant Chemistry Professor: The boss heads back to class as he is tasked with assisting with a lecture in front of hundreds of students. Will he make the grade or will he crack under the pressure?
Library Assistant: Re-shelving books in the student library proves to be more than the boss can handle. He will have to revisit his ABC’s just to get the job done.
Assistant Track and Field Coach: The condition of the campus track and bleachers prove to be a disappointment to the boss. Will he be able to put things back on track or will he encounter too many hurdles on the job?
Campus Tour Guide: The boss shows off his knowledge of UCR as he gives prospective students a tour of the campus. He connects on a deeper level with a tour guide who shares a personal story the boss can relate to.