Great customer service happens at an individual level – when you deal with a rep or customer assistant – but is enabled by the overall company culture, tools and happiness of that company’s employees.
It’s obvious when someone is not happy, and when it’s customer-facing staff this unhappiness spreads like a malevolent virus making for an uncomfortable customer experience. So we need happy staff. But what else?
A customer-centred culture
Great customer service is embedded in a company culture. It’s written in the manuals but more importantly it’s evidenced in everyday practices – the visible ‘what we do around here’, and managers lead by example. Organisations with customer-centred cultured plan and invest with the end customer in mind and train, equip and reward their staff to act in a customer-centred way.
One of the most important tools is giving staff the discretion to act as they see fit on the ground. How many times have you phoned up a customer service line and had to be referred to the rep’s line manager? Contrary to what you might think, the first person couldn’t deal with your enquiry or request because they were a moron, but because they had clear areas of power to act that they are not allowed to exceed.
See also: Are you being served? nativeye’s experiment tracking the best and worst customer service out there