Revolutionizing Customer Service
Many companies want to raise their level of customer service--but how? The typical response is to rewrite frontline employees' scripts and conduct pilot projects. Those tactics may be fine for a company whose service operation is functioning reasonably well. But if the operation is badly broken, or the industry is being disrupted and customers suddenly have many more choices, argue Singapore-based researchers and consultants Jochen Wirtz and Ron Kaufman, deeper cultural change may be needed. On the basis of 25 years of work with global customer service operations, the researchers recommend jettisoning four conventional practices, singly or in combination: (1) Don't start with customer-facing employees. Instead, make sure they're getting the right support. (2) Don't focus on specific skills or scripts. Educate people more generally about what "service excellence" means. (3) Don't pilot changes. Go company-wide to create momentum fast. (4) Don't worry about traditional metrics, such as share of wallet and NPS. Track the number of new value-adding actions put into practice. For companies looking to differentiate on service, these strategies can make the difference between slow, fleeting progress and rapid, sustainable success.