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 #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 #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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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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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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Knowing Your Customers

How do you know what a customer needs? If you mention customer advocacy and pose that question many executives will say, “Well they tell us, right?” I think they picture a frustrated customer across the counter or perhaps calling or posting a message that describes a problem. But there’s so much more to it. The video below from the LinkedIn …

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