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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Improving Quality and Performance in Customer Experience

Today’s generation of quality, performance, and customer experience initiatives is building on a rich history. Naturally, new ideas and methods will follow. But some core themes have emerged from these management advances—principles that are guiding current developments. They include: Quality must be based on customer needs and expectations Quality and access to service work together The process is where the …

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The Leadership Secret to Effective Coaching

In the most engaged teams I’ve seen, there are solid coaching principles at work. But the ultimate leadership secret is to approach training, coaching and performance standards as opportunities to empower your employees to coach themselves. Learn more about how to encourage self-coaching in this video “Coaching for Improved Performance” from my LinkedIn Learning course Customer Service: Motivating Your Team. …

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Understanding What Motivates Your Team

I’m going to say something that may be a surprise. You will not, now or ever, be able to motivate your team. It’s not going to happen. You can, however, help motivate the people who are a part of it. Yes, it’s true, many of us refer to “motivating the team,” but what we’re really talking about is something that …

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Improving Performance: Two Types of Standards

The cornerstone of an effective quality observation process is documenting specific, observable behaviors and tailoring coaching accordingly. An effective way to consider performance (quality) standards is to categorize them as either “foundation” or “finesse.” Foundation standards measure whether something was done, and can be assessed with a simple yes or no. For example, the agent uses their name in the …

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