6 Steps to Launching a Successful Customer Service Initiative That Lasts

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Every company is guilty of having a bunch of great ideas and incredible initiatives born in a boardroom – only to see them eventually fizzle out and die, leaving the frustrated and cynical management team and the employees skeptical about the next program of the year, flavor of the month, or management by bestseller will be. Here’s how The DiJulius Group ensures its consulting clients see tangible results 12 months, 3 years and even 5 years later.

1) Create it. Whether you’re creating your customer service vision statement, non-negotiable standards, or service recovery protocols (zero risk), you need to have a team in charge of this project. They are more commonly called steering committee, ideally composed of 12 to 18 people. This group should consist not only of management, but also of representatives from almost all departments of the company, as well as some front-line employees. This will ensure that the group as a whole is working for the benefit of the whole company.

This project must also have a leader, a champion (CXO), someone who reports to the CEO or president and who will lose sleep at night because of the success of this project at every stage – not just in the short term, but also 6-18 months from now. When creating an initiative, the project leader must bring together the steering committee for a first workshop, and at least one follow-up. To create the best possible result, assignments and exercises must be created. Between meetings, the project manager should manage regular communication between steering committee members to ensure everyone is collaborating and meeting goals and deadlines.

2) Run it. Creating your initiative can be exhausting. It should be exhausting, otherwise it won’t be taken seriously. Now the hard work begins. The one thing that’s almost as important as executive sponsorship is frontline sponsorship. This is where a major mistake is often made. The steering committee can assume that everyone in the organization will have the same passion and commitment to this initiative, but no one else outside the steering committee has been immersed in it for weeks, passionately debating this which will help the company take the next step. level. There is therefore typically a disconnect between the group that gives rise to the project and the rest of the organization. This is why it is so important to have a launch that involves everyone and is able to understand why this initiative is so important to the success of the business, the well-being of customers and the future of your employees.

A launch involves communicating with everyone, and in this launch you have to tell a story. Each story has a villain and a hero. The bad guy is what’s wrong with the way it’s done now. The bad guy can be the competition, the status quo, price cuts, or customer pain. The hero is easy; the hero is our initiative and how it will change the business, the industry, the lives of our customers and solve their problems. You must be able to sell the purpose of your initiative to all your employees and get them to rally around it, to rise up to defeat the “bad guy”. You also need to ensure that 100% of your employees participate in the launch, either during the live presentation or by watching it online within a certain time frame.

3) Certify it. Just because your employees attended or watched the presentation online doesn’t mean they remembered anything. There must be an element of certification. It is important to test each employee to ensure that they have learned and retained the information that has been taught/prompted. There are many ways to do this. One of my favorites is gamification, making it a competition between teams, departments or locations. This makes it a fun and team building activity.

4) Implement it. This is where most plans, projects and initiatives fail – in the implementation phase. You can create the greatest idea and get everyone to rally around it. But if you don’t have a solid implementation plan, it will be another good idea that never came to fruition because no one made sure there was a plan to roll it out effectively after the rally. ‘encouragement. The implementation is a deployment schedule composed of phases: crawling, walking and running. This schedule should be timed with training and support materials.

5) Measure it. Just as the project manager must fall asleep at night before success, each department, manager and employee must now know the key indicator that measures the success of this initiative (retention rate, number of referrals, resignation rate, rate closing, conversion rate). , customer satisfaction score or NPS). Not only do they need to know what it is, but what it should be, and they need to see it daily and know exactly what is affecting it. Management and employees must be obsessed with this metric. Those who hit the goal should be loudly celebrated; those who are underperforming need to be coached and convinced that this is how we operate now and forever. Live it, love it or leave it.

a) Measure who does it consistently, acknowledge it, and then coach your employees until it’s performed 100% consistently. (This should be measured immediately with deployment to ensure employees know this is serious and non-negotiable).

b) Measure that it has an impact on the client. Do they recognize the value and does it affect satisfaction levels and does it affect key metrics (average tickets, conversation rates, retention, referrals, quits, NPS). To see the impact it has, it cannot be measured for about 30 days and for 90-120 days.

6) Hold it. Be relentless. There is no groundbreaking ceremony for a world-class customer service organization. You never arrive; you just need to keep promoting and promoting your customer service culture to all of your employees. Address it in daily huddles, recognizing and celebrating employees who demonstrate the desired behavior. Keep playing games and post your ROX (feedback) results to show company, team and individual performance.

Conclusion

Customer service systems are evolving. Some things work, a lot of things need to be tweaked, like better training, better support, better technology, better communication and better awareness, for example. The steering committee should continue to meet regularly to develop new systems as well as evolve existing ones, constantly assessing progress and shortcomings. Above all, all work performed and deployed should be part of the orientation and training of new employees so that future generations get it, ensure consistency, and understand the legacy the company is built on. Your company’s customer service will then be your greatest competitive advantage.

John R. Di Julius III, author of The Customer Service Revolution, is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies including Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestlé, PwC, Lexus and more. others. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or [email protected]

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