I recently did a session on Exceptional Customer Service in Whistler, Canada during an organization’s annual retreat. One of the questions I am often asked is ‘whose job is it to deliver exceptional customer service.’ This group was sharp and emphatically stated, ‘all of us.’ In the room were teams from finance, operations, and administration along with the executive leadership team.
Saying we are all responsible and living it is where the tension lies. The art of exceptional customer service lies in how it gets executed. All employees are asked to work towards solutions that will benefit the organization and the customer. This is much more difficult than saying the ‘customer is always right’.
Here are a few examples of challenges that will define your level customer service:
- Customer is 12 days past due their agreed upon payment terms
- Customer would like you to hold inventory for an additional 2 months
- Shipment of product is being held up at the border and will miss the customer expectation
- Quality of the product is below what the customer had anticipated
- Customer has asked for a ‘Volume Purchasing Agreement’ which will eat into your gross margins
- Tone of communication being used by the customer seems disrespectful
- Customer would like to double their orders going forward and you are unsure you can meet that expectation
To answer how to handle each of the examples above, most of us would begin saying we need more information. A quick binary response of yes or no may not be the easiest way to driving a higher Net Promoter Score. Exceptional customer service requires exceptional communication. Solving the customer concerns and communicating it are two very different aspects of delivering exceptional service levels to your customers.
Here are 3 questions you should have answers for that will help:
- How have you defined exceptional customer service for your organization?
- How do you measure exceptional customer service?
- How well do your functional teams communicate to each other?
To learn more about customer service for your organization, refer to our course on Exceptional Customer Service. Ignitor Leadership creates contextual learning and development for teams passionate about learning and getting results. Other customer tailored and interactive courses can be found on our Skill Development Sessions page.