Creating customer focused processes
Sometimes within organisations, the internal processes that support the creation of a product or a service can become the barrier to achieving the best customer service. The key is to create customer focused processes that make transactions easy for your customers and staff to understand, operate and refer to when needed.
You can create customer focused processes by:
- Experiencing the product or service yourself or asking a colleague if you are easily recognisable. Identify the processes that reduced your customer experience and identify what needs to be done to improve the process.
- Stepping into the shoes of your employees by serving your customers directly and seeing first hand how your systems and processes affect the customer. Identify the obstacles that get in the way of good customer service. You will have seen on national television, companies getting their CEO or senior manager going ‘under cover’ to find out what is really going on in their business. For example, DHL were shocked to learn that their own Head Office built processes got in the way of their employees delivering packages on time to their customers. This resulted in a change of process and much more.
- Questioning your employees across the business to find out where the bottle necks are within your internal systems and processes. Ask them what issues and challenges hinder them from achieving exceptional service every time, and what they need to achieve this.
- Building and revising your processes around the customer’s journey. Remember to involve your key internal and external stakeholders when building or revising new customer focused processes. Those employees that utilise the processes will know how best to stream line them and ensure they flow correctly. Mapping out your customer journey from the first time a customer considers using your products or services through to after sales support with your key team members will enable you to identify where improvements could be made. You need to consider both the potential customer emotional responses as well as the tangible transactions within the processes to be really effective.
- Highlighting your service pressure points that affect your speed of response and customer waiting times so that you can address these by ensuring you have the right resources and correct automated processes.
- Running customer focused meetings where decisions taken in the running of the business always take into account the needs and emotions of the customer. Some businesses have a ‘customer chair’ that they metaphorically refer to in management and staff meetings to prompt them. See our tips for chairing meetings
- Creating and communicating simple customer service standards that help your employees manage customer service successfully, avoiding the production of too many to avoid confusion. Build these standards into your induction programmes and customer service training.
- Making automated processes simple, accessible and digestible so that the customer can easily connect and speak to the right person when they need assistance, or find out the information they need on your web site.
- Producing simple check-lists or visual aids to reinforce these processes for team members and ensure they are easily to hand.
- Tracking and analysing errors and complaints to get to the root cause, to find out what’s going wrong and why. Involve people in improving processes to prevent recurrences. Undertake remedial complaint handling training and coaching. See our tips on handling customer complaints for further help.
- Reviewing your customer service progress throughout the enhancement of your customer service using mystery shoppers, customer surveys or Net Promoter Scores, remembering to share the results with your teams periodically to maintain the momentum. Don’t forget to celebrate your progress with the team!
- Customer service training ideas
- How to improve customer service
- Handling customer complaints
- Dealing with difficult behaviour
- Developing a customer service training programme
- Understanding customer needs
- Meeting customer needs
- Engaging with customers
- Delighting your customers
- Empowering your staff to support customers