Perfecting Service Management

Issue #3 Friday, October 4, 2003

Welcome!

topical index

Welcome to this edition of the Customer Centricity newsletter, where we explore ways for you to unlock the value of your customer relationships. The purpose of this newsletter is to deliver value to you in the form of information you can apply in your role as a customer-focused business leader and to provide updates from Customer Centricity.

In this issue you will learn the time proven approach for putting in place customer-focused programs to continuously improve customer satisfaction.
 

In this issue:

Customer Centricity Takes to the Air Waves - Update

On October 12th join Craig Bailey, founder of Customer Centricity, on the “Stu Taylor on Business” radio show to learn how you can use excellent customer service to better retain customers and differentiate your business from the competition. The show can be heard throughout the New England area on WBIX Business Radio 1060 AM from 10am to 12 noon. If you are outside the listening area you can tune-in online at the below link.

www.business1060.com

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Unlocking the Value of Your Customer Satisfaction Surveys - Part 3
Implementing customer-focused changes

In our third article in the series “Unlocking the Value of Your Customer Satisfaction Surveys” we will discuss the topic of implementing customer-focused changes.

Part 1 of the series explored the topic of Measurement Principles and Part 2 discussed responding to the immediate needs of your customer uncovered during the survey process. You can directly access these articles at the links provided below.

A Customer Survey Remediation Program:

This step in the process of unlocking the value of your customer satisfaction surveys is where the rubber truly meets the road. You are now measuring customer satisfaction, adhering to measurement principles and responding to the immediate needs of your customer uncovered in the process of executing your survey. There are 5 steps that we will review to implement customer-focused changes through a Customer Survey Remediation program.

  1. Management attention and commitment - Management (Director and VP-level) of each customer-facing organization must be engaged and participate in the program. This includes, at a minimum, the areas of sales, marketing and service/operations. This commitment requires their personal review of customer satisfaction survey results as well as ensuring their area is fully represented in all elements of the Customer Survey Remediation program.

  2. Cross-functional review - Each customer-facing organization needs to receive the monthly customer satisfaction survey results report and perform a detailed review. The goal is to identify trends that are impacting customer satisfaction. Additionally, proactive actions must be identified to improve customer satisfaction levels. You may need to follow-up with the customer to apologize for the lack of performance by your firm, reset expectations or obtain additional details regarding their comment. For chronic trends that are impacting many customers you will want to define initiatives to improve the level of performance being experienced by your customers. Finally, each team must come prepared to a cross-functional review meeting, to discuss the survey results reflective of their area and comment on actions that have been, or will be, taken. The cross-functional review meeting should happen 7-10 days after the customer satisfaction results have been compiled by or provided to your firm, from your survey partner. This meeting should be facilitated by a member of your firm that is not part of a customer-facing organization. This role could be referenced as the the customer survey coordinator. The customer survey coordinator should be assertive, diplomatic and empowered to "ask the tough questions". Because this person has no vested interest in the customer-facing organizational camps, they can tease-out key areas that need to be addressed to get at the root of issues causing customer dissatisfaction.

  3. Survey remediation tracking and reporting - During the cross-functional reviews that take place, trends will be observed and continuous improvement programs will be defined. The result of this exercise will be a customer satisfaction dashboard that includes high-level reporting on the customer satisfaction trends by month, and a list of initiatives that have been defined to respond to these trends. This reporting is produced by the customer survey coordinator, and distributed to senior management and all levels of management of the customer-facing organizations.

  4. Establishing satisfaction goals and tracking performance against these goals – Here there are 3 things to focus on. First, each area of your customer satisfaction survey should have an established goal that is owned by the functional area whose performance is being measured. Also, each program that is defined to improve customer satisfaction needs to have a quantifiable impact established that can be tracked on a timeline. For example, let's assume that the Customer Care organization will be performing a customer service skills training program in the month of October. It is expected that this will have a measurable impact on customer satisfaction. The first step is to determine when the impact of this training will initially be felt by the customer. Let's assume that the impact of this training will begin to be felt by the customer in November. The second focus is determining when this impact will be observed in the customer satisfaction survey results. In this case, if the training will begin to provide positive impact in November, the full impact on the survey results may not show up until the December surveys are administered. Therefore, it will not be until the January timeframe, when you review your December survey results, that your organization will be able to see the full impact of this training. The final focus is establishing customer satisfaction goals to identify the level of impact. For example, let’s say that customers are 78% totally satisfied with Customer Care, at the present time. The question to ask is "how many percentage points will our customer satisfaction ratings increase as a result of providing skills training to the Customer Care organization? How much improvement should we experience in November, and how much in December?" You may decide that the customer satisfaction rating will improve by 2% in the November survey, and an additional 6% in December. This exercise is repeated for each functional area as they identify the impact that their customer-focused initiatives will have on the satisfaction results for which they are responsible.

  5. Communication to the organization, and the customer - Now that you are performing all of the above elements of the Customer Survey Remediation program, you have the opportunity to share the positive results with your entire organization and more importantly the customer. This can be in the form of all-hands meetings and internal newsletters for your employees. For customers, this can be in the form of monthly reporting to your highest priority accounts and newsletters sent to all customers. By taking this final step you will increase employee morale and ensure that your organization is focused on your single source of revenue: the customer. Additionally, you will demonstrate to the customer that you truly value their feedback by responding in ways to improve the experience they have with your firm.

In summary, there is no silver-bullet in the quest to increase customer satisfaction. As such, your team should try various programs designed to improve customer satisfaction, check against survey results and adjust the program(s) based on customer feedback. Finally, by aligning your customer-facing teams towards a common goal and promoting awareness through-out your organization you will find that you are well on your way to continuously increasing customer satisfaction levels.

Our next article in this series will cover the topic of implementing account strategies.

Previous Articles In This Series:

Part 1: Measurement Principles
Part 2: Responding to the Immediate Needs of Your Customer

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More About Customer Centricity, Inc.

Customer Centricity is a business consulting firm that partners with companies to improve the performance of their service organizations. We leverage our real-world experience to help our clients manage their customer relationships in more effective and satisfying ways.

Customer Centricity delivers on this promise by optimizing the interaction between people, process and technology to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction and increased operational efficiencies. We provide:

  1. Comprehensive assessments to identify the actions that will yield the greatest return;
  2. Skills Training to enable customer-facing personnel to deliver exceptional levels of customer service;
  3. Design and Implementation of business process techniques to serve the customer in efficient, effective and consistent manners; and
  4. Identification of the appropriate business processes to automate, enabling companies to get the most from their investments in technology.

In addition to our core practices, we also maintain a network of strategic partnerships to provide end-to-end consulting across your organization with a commitment to seamless execution.

Click on the following link to see what our customers have to say.

To learn more about Customer Centricity:

call: 603.491.7948

send e-mail to: info@customercentricity.biz 

or visit our web-site: www.customercentricity.biz

In Closing

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Copyright (c) 2002 by Customer Centricity, Inc. All rights reserved.