Eliminate the most damaging customer service frustrations

The principles that guide effortless customer experiences seem basic. The truth is, it’s difficult to get customer service basics right, and many organizations don’t. While customer service catastrophes still make headlines, run-of-the-mill customer service annoyances are still maddeningly common.

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Two types of quality standards for employees

Aren’t there a million and one nuances you could focus on when establishing quality standards for customer service employees? So how do you even get started? Here is an easy, yet effective, approach. A proven way to establish quality standards for individuals is to categorize them as either foundation or finesse. Learn more about foundation and finesse standards in this …

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Principle #7: Skills, Knowledge and Leadership Make the Difference

What’s the real secret to improving performance? Build the skills, knowledge and leadership in your team to make it all happen. That, along with the right culture and focus, is the secret sauce. Organizations are made up of people with myriad personalities, backgrounds and skills. Success depends on creating an engaging environment and bringing out the best in everyone who …

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Principle #6: Improvements Must Be Ongoing

You face many choices when deciding where and how to improve the customer experience. And possibilities multiply when analyzing customer data from sources that range from social media posts to surveys to operational metrics. Which issues do you tackle first? Here are eight criteria that can help you make that decision: SAFETY: Customer safety should always be the top priority. …

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Principle #4: Fix Root Causes to Make Lasting Improvements

Have you ever been part of this conversation: “I thought we fixed that problem! Why are talking about it again?” Chances are, a symptom was addressed, at least temporarily, but the root cause was not fully identified and resolved. Your proof that a problem has been fixed is that it doesn’t recur, or its frequency is reduced dramatically. Without an …

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Principle #3: The Process Is Where the Leverage Is

The third principle in this series, Improving Quality and Performance in Customer Experience, focuses our attention on the bigger picture – the processes within an organization. A process is a “system of causes.” (Note: in the context of quality and process improvement, “system” refers to the system of causes or processes, not a technology.) Every organization is an expansive system …

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Standards for the Service Operation: Quality and Value

Establishing the right quality standards for your organization is essential to delivering efficient and effective service. In my LinkedIn Learning course “Quality Standards in Customer Service,” I outline four quality standards that can help you define what quality and value mean. Standards for the service operation: Quality and value from Quality Standards in Customer Service by Brad Cleveland

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Principle #2: Quality and Access to Service Work Together

In customer experience, when service is required, quality of service and access to it are inextricably associated with, and complementary to, each other. Accessibility is an enabler. When customers wait too long, they will often verbalize their criticisms when they finally do reach an employee. Valuable time is spent apologizing and delivering service takes more time. Employee burnout can increase. …

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Root Cause Analysis in Customer Service

When you encounter a problematic aspect of service or customer experience, the first step is to identify root causes. Typically, several possibilities surface and they all seem plausible. How can you determine which root cause deserves your attention? In this video, I summarize three tools that we often recommend for their usefulness in customer service settings. This video is from …

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Principle #1: Quality Must Be Based on Customer Needs and Expectations

The need to identify and address customer expectations stems from a widely accepted principle: improvements in customer experience lead to increased customer loyalty, better business results and a stronger brand reputation. Consider the old adage about building the best-quality horse buggy in town: it doesn’t matter if no one wants it. A lesser-known but similarly powerful principle is also at …

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