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Delighting Your Customers-Part 2

Having defined who a customer is and what Customer Service is, the foundation has been laid for this discussion. How can we recognize a business that takes Customer Service beyond elaborate mission statements and plaques on the wall? That is what this piece will be addressing. I will be asking four questions as we throw more light on the issue.customer-delight-2-728

Is customer service woven into the strategic fabric of the organisation? What does that mean. When customer service is woven into the strategic fabric, then it becomes the pivot on which the organisation is built. Everyone in the organisation from leadership to gate-man are wired around delighting the customer.

However, the Nigerian factor always comes into the picture. So the CEO’s sister, daughter, son or girlfriend works in the organisation. Then a customer complains. What does the CEO do? Nothing, because his relative is involved. What is the unwritten message in that inaction? It is not a problem to ill-treat customers. Once that happens even once, the signals are in the air. That kind of organisation will always drop the customer service ball. If the CEO does not care enough to discipline his relatives, then no one else will. If it is not important enough for him to address, then no one else will.

Leadership must lead the Customer Service discussion and exemplify it. His direct reports should take it to their teams. The entire business strategy must be hinged on the delight of the customer. Beyond strategy, the everyday operations must ensure customer delight. It should not just be about meeting a need but ensuring maximum satisfaction as customers interact with the organisation.

Are the business processes customer friendly? When an organisation has one of this customer service quotes on its wall but you have to bring cash to their premises, wherever it is, to make payments in this day of internet and mobile banking, what is the organization doing? When the person who makes the cash payment has to wait for someone who went out of the premises before he can get what he paid for, what kind of service is that. If after he makes the cash payment, he then has to take the receipt to some other location to pick his item, how can you claim customer service as a strength?

These are some of the scenarios customers have to face because they want to get something they need. Great customer service means that the customer does not go through unnecessary hassle trying to do business with an organisation. All the touch points should be hassle free. Making enquiries should be easy. Making the decision to buy should be comfortable. Making payments should be hitch free. Taking your purchase out of the building should not be a problem. Deliveries should be made on time. They should be able to use the product without having to call you. If they have to complain just trying to do any part of the transaction, then your processes are not customer friendly.

Are your people adequately equipped, empowered and motivated to really delight your customers? It is one thing for CEO to think and act Customer Service, but another to ensure all staff can deliver it. Most times, Nigerian CEOs are struggling to impress and delight customers and their staff mess things up. So a lot of the time businesses are usually hinged on the CEO’s personal involvement. He does not have enough confidence to hand customers over to his subordinates.

It becomes a vicious cycle. CEO does not trust his people can delight his customers, then he does not empower them, they don’t deliver on their job expectations and as a result, are not well paid and the cycle continues. Businesses cannot expect more than they give. If you want customers to enjoy being in your space, then yo must invest in your people. Challenge them to improve. Empower them to make on-the-spot decisions to delight customers and motivate them to perform. When staff feel cared for, they will in turn delight your customers. A lot of the dissatisfaction customers experience is really a function of disgruntled and unhappy people at work.

Is there enough investment in technology? If you run and organisation where everything is done manually, then you can never delight customers in this dispensation. Technology has raised the bar. It enable things to get done, faster, more efficiently and more accurately. There is almost no process that is not driven by technology. Whatever business you are in, ensure that the prerequisite technology is put in place to ensure smooth delivery. Smooth means-fast, efficient, accurate and together they would delight the customer.

These four issues are the pillars on which you build the customer experience-Strategy, Processes, People and Technology. They more thought given to these four areas, the more organizations will be able to delight customers. The good thing about a delighted customer is that they never keep their delight to themselves, they always spread the word. That is how businesses grow and become sustainable.

Chinwe Kalu,

Twitter: @chinwecppl1



Look out for Part 3

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