You don’t have to be in the Fortune 500 to build superior stellar customer service into your business.
In fact, when’s the last time you called a Fortune 500 company for service and came away impressed with the service you got?
The big guys have the resources to do whatever they want but, their size makes it difficult in itself. Why?
Because good customer service is mostly about information. When a customer calls, they want information: how to buy, how to use, how to pay, etc. From the customer’s point of view, the measure of good customer service is two fold – how fast can I get what I need and how pleasant is the experience?
The larger the organization, the more layers and departments there are. That makes it tough to keep things simple for the customer.
For a small business, it can seem difficult to provide instant access to information and solutions. That’s because most business owners have the impression that they must spend large sums of money to implement an information system (contact management, CRM, etc.) that empowers sales and service personnel to assist customers quickly.
So, the process is normally one in which some one logs the call and the request, then promises to get back to the client as soon as possible. Then the staffer tracks down someone who has the information and authority to make decisions. Of course, this process is inherently inefficient and leaves the customer waiting.
What if any customer facing employee in your company could look up a comprehensive status for the client on the phone? Everything they’ve ever bought, service issues they’ve had, pending orders, general notes about their application of the product, etc.?
Good news! Its not that hard to achieve. If you have some IT expertise on hand, it can be done with Access or even Microsoft Exchange. Solid CRMs or Contact Management systems can be had for less than $500 per employee per year, when you factor in all the costs of implementation, maintenance, etc.
So, the client calls and the person who answers the call has all the facts they need to help the client on the spot.
The client gets what they want – fast answers without having to talk to several employees while being transferred around, waiting on hold and repeating their story.
So, if $500 per employee seems an affordable cost for beating your biggest competitor at customer service, all you have to do is decide that your company can make the transition from keeping information in their heads to entering it into a contact management database.
That transition doesn’t have to be painful. More to come in my next post on how to motivate employees to get on board with sharing information and how to make it easy to get started while reducing the training costs.