In “my days” we would receive a question by mail and then review it, draft a response, get it typed in draft, review the draft, get the final version typed up and have it sent by mail with the necessary attachments to whoever asked the question. It took time but no one expected anything soon in those days. Well those days are over and now we live in a society where we are connected the whole day, ask questions immediately and directly, have access to the people running the companies, investors in the companies, the media and the world audience all from behind our laptop in our backyard.
This forms a challenge for Service Delivery.
If your team has any interface with the outside world, performs functions for outside parties or even when you work for internal clients, Delivering your services and answering questions has changed dramatically and continues to change on a daily basis. How long can we still be satisfied with running reports overnight on our corporate system or requesting data from our vendors when our customers and the public are getting more and more used to having everything that they want, when they want and whenever they want.
So what are the points you need to pay attention to?
My main points would be:
Provide an answer to questions, not just a response. It bothers me that more and more companies resort to substandard customer service, staffed with ill trained representatives who read from scripts and seem to have a lack of knowledge about the company or the service they are supposed to represent. Endless phone tree mazes and huge waiting times contribute to the frustrations. Jamie Lawrence at the HR Zone has written a great article about this please read it.
Measure what you are doing. A great colleague of mine had these two questions he would continue to ask: “How is your business running….. and How do you know?”. So I don’t particularly care for statistics about in how many milliseconds the phone has been answered but I am very interested in the client’s satisfaction. Ensure all involved understand what the goal is you are trying to accomplish with your service.
Use state of the art technology. Don’t economize on supporting equipment and tools for your staff, chances are that your clients have even more advanced resources so stay on top of it and use your resources to your advantage. How many times have you been on hold while a service rep complaints that the system is slow or has crashed and needs to be restarted?
It all comes down to setting your goals and ensuring your team understands them too, using your resources (people and tools) and following a process.
related article: The Main Points