Customer Care Expert Guest: Lisa Ford & Four Strategies for Customer Service Leadership
Today’s guest column is from Lisa Ford. Lisa has been speaking to audiences for 25+ years on how to create a customer-focused organization and team. She is the author of a best-selling training series, “How to Give Exceptional Customer Service.” Lisa’s books include “Exceptional Customer Service” and “Customer Service Excellence: It’s in the Details.”
In her column “The Four Strategies for Customer Service Leadership,” Lisa provides insight into how great leadership trickles down throughout an organization to deliver a superior customer experience.
The Four Strategies for Customer Service Leadership
By Lisa Ford, Author of a best-selling training series, How to Give Exceptional Customer Service
The best customer service organizations have many things in common. I believe the most important is that its leadership focuses on customer service and the customer experience. Check yourself and your leadership against these four strategies.
1. Leaders dedicate dollars, time and creativity to training. They know employees must have “state of the art” skills as well as a desire and motivation to serve. How creative is your training? Is it “just in time” for customer initiatives and needs? Is enough time spent in the new hire employee orientation?
2. Leaders have a focus on people and processes. They realize the best employees can’t adequately serve if the processes are not customer friendly. Customer needs and company processes are often in conflict. What bureaucracy issues do you deal with and eliminate? Ask your employees what processes need to be fixed. Look across departments and determine how to create a seamless experience for the customer. I know most of you have done this already. It is time to do it again.
3. Leaders keep the customer focus upfront in team meetings. The agenda includes the latest customer data, the voice of the customer, opportunities to discuss improvement ideas and recognition of great service efforts. Keep the meetings short and relevant. What needs to be changed about your team meetings? How much time is spent talking about real customer issues?
4. Leaders at the best organizations are visible, great cheerleaders and story tellers. Employees need to be inspired and included. Do you spend enough time with the customer facing team? What stories do you need to tell when in front of the employees? How are you inspiring the team to deliver a great experience?
Customer focus is an everyday activity. Leaders make certain that their time and actions are consistent with the expectations of great service and experience delivery. What must you do today to make a difference?
Lisa Ford is a business speaker and author focusing on customer issues. Her DVD training series is a best seller and used by many teams. She can be reached at 770.394.4860 and www.lisaford.com.