Front Line Customer Service

I read an amazing statistic in an article written by the Canadian Management Centre.

“The average company loses half their customers in 5 years and half their employees in 4 years¹. This has significant impact to overall customer, employee, investor and supplier loyalty.”

Wow! Think about that statistic. 100% customer turnover in 5 years and 100% employee turn over in 4 years. Management at all levels must understand the changing role and importance of front-line customer service operations to achieve the core mission of the business, i.e., customer retention, customer acquisition, customer satisfaction, employee retention and increased profitability.

When managers do not envision the relationship between management practices and front-line actions, the business has not recognized the evolution of the customer’s Service Output Demands (SODS). Nothing short of service excellence will initiate and maintain customer relationship equity, which is the cornerstone of customer retention and increased customer spend. The most successful businesses in any industry are those that maintain relationships through ongoing customer satisfaction earned by meeting changing customer expectations, versus those that focus just on new business and new sales but lose existing customers. Consequently, customer service requires a priority focus on existing customer relationship equity. Customers have become accustomed to receiving “The Ultimate Customer Experience.” Today’s customers are just smarter and utilizing the internet and the proliferation of information available to them your customer is poised to expect your absolute best. They may know an awful lot about your company before you ever walk in their door.

The importance of customer retention and its relationship to profits and growth through existing account penetration and through referrals from existing satisfied customers is not an initiative. It is a proven best practice success factor.

Sales and Service

Without customers, we don’t exist, customer service is useless and there would be no need for professional sales personnel. Next to employees, customers are the company’s most precious asset. Consequently, customer service must become a core competency. Most companies define customer service a little differently than sales. That is a broad definition and we must not lose sight of the fact that every employee in one way or another is involved in customer service. Sales personnel just happen to be one of the “Front Lines.” As a “customer driven organization” it is important to discuss how you serve your customers. In one way or another, every employee provides customer service.

Industry studies position inside sales, customer service and counter service at center stage. Different studies document changing customer expectations. They prove the primary day-to-day contact with customers by inside sales, customer service personnel or the counter represents the biggest opportunity to develop and maintain customer relationship equity. Customer service is the customer’s window into the company. Through that window, customers see and experience the commitment to service excellence. All companies tout, “We have the best service in the industry.” Woo Hoo–the customer today demands that you walk the walk! As a customer driven organization, failure to provide service excellence encourages customers to readily switch to get what they want. פלטפורמה לשירות לקוחות

Operations and Logistics

Accuracy is one of the most important factors in service excellence. That factor applies to everyone in the organization, but it is especially true on the front line. Logistics, for those customers requiring delivery is also a part of the formula for excellence. Filling the order means knowing the inventory and location of all products to ensure customer satisfaction. Filling an order with the wrong product size, type, or causing unanticipated delays deteriorates customer relationship equity.

Customer Facing

Inside sales, customer service and counter sales professionals are key links to the customer; a crucial ingredient in the service excellence formula. Don’t underestimate the impact on customer relationships, sales growth and profitability. Customers have higher expectations of their face-to-face contacts and their regular telephone contacts than anyone else in the company. They want to get the right product, at the right time, at the right price. They also want to talk to knowledgeable total solution providers that do more than just write orders and handle complaints.

All sales and support people hold key positions in the organization and contribute favorably in all the aspects of the sales process. The ability to follow policy and procedures and to employ good judgment is also highly valued by management. A complete understanding of your role and the role and function of your teammates will improve your ability to service the customer. The most important concept is your role in developing relationship equity. Relationships play a key role in improved service, increased sales, improved profitability and deeper penetration at each account.