Have you ever tried to climb the corporate ladder only to realize that every step you take up the food chain leaves you with yet another step to go? Usually, this is because you really don’t know what the goal is until you get started down the road.
Achieving great customer support is similar to this journey lacking a definitive goal. Most companies talk about having great customer support, they may even think they have it, but very few actually do.
One of the reasons this anomaly takes place is that most companies haven’t a clue what great customer support really consists of. They have no yardstick on which to base their performance.
Since I’m never one to be shy about giving my opinion, this article is going to lay out what I believe are the minimum efforts a firm must make to reach this business nirvana.
Set Goals: It’s The Only Place to Start
We teach children to set goals when they are trying to reach some level of achievement. Why do most adults forget to do this when they are striving for something? This is especially true when it comes to customer support goals.
Most companies don’t even have an inkling for setting these types of milestones. How can you know you are doing something right unless you have a destination in mind? You must set goals for your support department. These goals need to be tangible, and they need to be measurable.
Examples might be response times, up-time measurements, customer satisfaction percentages, or even customer retention numbers. Whatever is applicable to your business, make the decision to implement these tangible, measurable goals and track your success.
Dedication, Dedication, Dedication
To really have great customer support, you and your staff need to have a passion for satisfying customer needs. Nothing else can really matter except the smiles that you can create on the faces of your customers.
This means no effort is too much. If it takes 24 X 7 support with a staff of only three people, that’s what you must do. If it means that you’re going to work all night on a customer problem, so be it. The real secret to great customer support is to know that there’s no limit to the heights that you will go.
In line with this far-reaching customer support is a simple philosophy. I must confess that the next idea is not my own, but came from a restaurant where I worked when I was in high school. This fancy restaurant had one standing rule, “Never say ‘no’ to a customer.” No matter what a person asked for, we had to give it to him (or her).
My favorite exhibit of this rule in action is: One time a manager at the restaurant overheard a guest say, “I wish I could get a Big Mac.” The manager immediately called me over and sent me to the local McDonald’s to get the sandwich for the guy. Although I can’t understand why you would request a Big Mac if you’re at a fancy restaurant, I really gained an appreciation for great customer support.
Great customer support is not some cloud that is floating in the sky, impossible to touch, but something you think about when it’s raining. Instead, it’s an art and an exercise.
It’s something that you get better at as you work on it. It’s something that is a part of your corporate environment and something that must always be a part of your thought process.
But even more than this, great customer support must be centered around the obvious, the customer. The customer’s unmitigated satisfaction is the only thing that really matters.