Creating Customer Advocates

Connecting with advocates doesn’t happen by accident. You need a plan, and a person or a team who’s responsible. And they should be collaborating with and part of the same efforts you’re putting into motion internally to improve customer experiences. Connecting and engaging with advocates is a strategic decision. It takes leadership to define its importance, and how you’ll approach …

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Principle #5: Customer Service Initiatives Can Lead to Significant Strategic Value

Customer service initiatives have enormous potential to improve customer experience and boost strategic value. For example, customer service can provide the broader organization with powerful insight on customers, products, services and processes. When this information is captured, identified, assimilated and turned into usable knowledge, it can literally transform an organization’s ability to identify and meet customer expectations. I love discovering …

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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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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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Build Customer Expectations into Plans and Direction

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 …

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Your Organization’s Personality

Motorcycle company Harley Davidson has incredibly loyal customers. Riders join clubs and wear Harley clothes, and some even have Harley tattoos. Many CEOs and chief marketing officers point to Harley as the holy grail of customer loyalty, and wonder what they can do to be more like Harley. The answer: don’t be more like Harley. Be more like you. Connect …

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