By Errol Allen
This week’s article is by my long time friend and customer service guru Errol Allen. Customer Service is the key to retain those hard gained customers. More about Errol:
Internationally known speaker, author and customer service expert Errol Allen provides practical advice and solutions garnered from over 25 years of hands – on experience. He possesses a multi-faceted perspective of organizations through the various positions held during his corporate tenure with companies such as ADT Security Systems, TCI Cablevision, The Houston Post, Excel Communications, e-talk and GEICO Insurance. From the phone to the field, Errol has serviced customers himself and understands that a “systems” orientation is crucial to providing excellent customer service.
More pearls of wisdom from Errol:
“Documented task completion procedures play a key role within any organization. Benefits of having well written task completion manuals include:
- Employees have a guideline for completing daily tasks.
- When utilized, tasks are completed in the same manner, regardless of who performs the task.
- The task completion manuals become an effective training tool.
- Task completion knowledge is retained within the company, thereby limiting the impact of key employee turnover.
- Rework due to improper task completion is greatly reduced or even eliminated.
- An operations blueprint is created, allowing for easy duplication in multiple locations.”
4 Steps To Increasing Customer Retention
( reposted from Errol Allens blog with his permission)
In these days of fierce competition, it’s crucial to do everything that one can to protect one’s customer base. The ability to retain customers is based on how well your internal operations run. While it’s important to smile and be nice to customers, it’s a good idea to make sure that your internal systems are able to consistently perform at optimum levels. Do you want better customer retention? Let’s take a look at how to get you there.
Map and Analyze Your Internal Processes – When working with clients, I always like to start here. Process mapping gives one an overview of what is actually happening within one’s company. Customers are impacted by your internal processes. How well your processes are constructed determine the level of service received by your customer. Hand off points and delays become clearly visible during this exercise. Process participants can communicate their requirements for completing their part of the process. Customer communication points can be identified. Process cycle time can be determined as well.
Create Consistency – It’s important that your company has a standard way of completing routine tasks. With your employees’ assistance, determine the best way to complete tasks and then develop standard operating procedures. These procedures become a guideline to follow to ensure consistent service delivery. This step also creates confident employees who can truly say “Yes – I do know how to complete that task.” Confident employees create happy customers.
Proactively Seek Feedback – Always, always, always proactively seek both customer and employee feedback. Where possible, attempt to get customer feedback immediately after their experience with your company. Solicit employee feedback regarding ways to improve internal operations. When you proactively seek feedback, the way your customers and employees view your company goes to another level. The information gained can be utilized to improve the experience received by both parties.
Analyzing Customer Complaints – It’s one thing to solicit customer complaints, but it’s another to analyze the complaint information. Look for patterns – is there an issue with one of your service offerings? What time of day are you receiving the most complaints? Is there a particular location that generates the most complaints? On which day of the week do you receive the most complaints? Do the complaints point to a particular process within your company? Did the complaints start after a new product launch? Analyzing your complaints will point you in the direction of quick resolution of the complaint sources.
Want better customer retention? Look inside of your business first. How you do what you do will determine how well you retain customers!
Errol’s website: errolallenconsulting.com
Order Errol”s book:Keys To Delivering Amazing Customer Service