I happen to go to a coffee shop every weekend and while sometimes, there are new options to try in the neighborhood, I keep on returning to the same one. It is not only that the coffee is great, but I am also impressed with the staff. They always have a smile on their face & greet their customers well, mostly they ask me if I’d like my regular – a iced americano or would try something new even before I place the order. And as a customer, a regular one at that, it makes me happy and wanting to come back.
Today, we are all very different customers – some of us might like to interact more with the staff, some of us might like a sales representative to be continuously present, or not – but at the core I believe we all remain people who want to be treated as important.
Hence, even today most of the brands are still trying to get it right.
Some of the problems one can identify with most customer service models are:
- EMPOWERMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE TO HELP THEM ENSURE THEY DELIVER THE BEST If the company fails to empower its employees to deliver exceptional service from the beginning, most employee would tend to follow the rule book and not do what might be the best for the customer.
- LACK OF TRAININGSProper trainings which help the employees to recognise that every customer is equal, and biases should not creep in are a must. The employees must share a common purpose with the organisation and be enabled with technical skills to handle their role. Starbucks recently shut down all its stores to conduct a racial bias training for its employees after two black patrons were arrested at one of their stores for not making a purchase.
- CUSTOMER SERVICE MODELS ARE OFTEN LEFT AUDITED Training are great and at the core of a good customer service however, auditing the model is a must. Mystery shoppers or a base of most unlikely customers that may visit your store is a good start to understand how your staff behaves in the unlikely circumstances. Post identification of gaps, your training should realign to address the particular behaviour and any other process gaps are recognized.
- AUTOMATION AT EVERY LEVEL Technology & algorithms solve one of the problems of customer service – it removes bias from decisions. However, automation at every level is something which divides people into two schools of thoughts. Technology is cold and customer service is pegged as emotional. A friend of mine who lost her father got access to his emails to settle some financial details. One of the automated service however, tried to keep on selling life insurance to the deceased. She’d often get calls and emails on his birthday, for home loans and hair transplant while nowhere she could report the status.
THE DEVIL, I BELIEVE LIES IN THE DETAILS. WHILE WE CAN LEARN FROM OTHER MODELS AND THAT’S A MUST. EACH BUSINESS MUST IDENTIFY, TRAIN AND AUDIT THEIR MODEL CONTINUOUSLY WITH A CORE OBJECTIVE: TO MAKE THE INTERACTIONS MORE HUMANE.
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