Anticipating customer expectations is essential to developing effective customer service. In fact, customer expectations ultimately define what good service means. Truly understanding your customers can help you stand out in an environment that evolves every day.
So, how do you ensure customer expectations are built into your plans and direction? Let me make some recommendations:
- First, make sure that your team thoroughly understands customer expectations. Post them prominently. And make a habit of considering them when making decisions. (The article “Evolving Customer Expectations” may help these efforts.)
- Build cross-functional teams to ensure a common focus on customer experience. No one part of the organization (e.g., contact center or stores) can single-handedly meet expectations—it takes systems, processes and focus spanning all functional areas.
- Don’t guess at how you’re doing. Track customer perceptions through social media channels, during interactions with employees, and through surveys that provide input on how well you’re living up to their expectations.
- That said, remember the late Steve Jobs’ advice: customers don’t usually know what they want until you show it to them. If you want to differentiate through service, don’t just copy industry “best practices”— be bold and create services that are appropriate for your organization and brand.
Customer service is fundamentally about enabling organizations to meet customer expectations—to be there at the right time and with the right services.
Excerpt from Contact Center Management on Fast Forward by Brad Cleveland.