Many empowered organizations involve their staff actively in gathering and reviewing customers’ feedback. Employees are more likely to take ownership of the information gathered from customers if they have a greater insight into customers’ perceptions.
Surveys can take many forms –focus groups of face –to –face discussions, comment cards, postal or telephone surveys. The key is to listen to customers and then to use their comments to develop a plan of section for improvement with the involvement of employees.
X company, six –monthly postal surveys provide an index of customer satisfaction. These surveys are supplemented in certain dealership by the use of telephone interviews. Customers who visit the showroom or who use the service or repair center are contacted a few days after there visit to ascertain how satisfied they were with the service ad to identify areas of improvement. The information is then fed back to staff joint actions agreed between a manager and his or her team.
Many organizations use feedback to develop charter and set standards for the devilry of excellent customer service.
Staffs adopt character standards most readily when they are empowered to develop them. A high street retailer recently set up groups of employees from across the company to develop a set service standards. Using information gathering on what was significant to the customer, the teams developed measurable and achievable standards which are now used as agreed bench-marks to conduct shop and individual performance reviews.
Recognizing the needs of the internal customer
A key aspect of empowerment is mutual accountability. Many organizations promote the concept of the internal customer by holding awareness sessions and discussion groups with parts of the company who provide a service to each other. It is also useful to set up internal service improvement groups with volunteer employees from all parts of the organization. These groups can come up with suggestions on ways to get smarter and to work together more effectively.
The quality of service which front line staff delivers is the product not only of individuals’ personal skills, attitudes and behavior, but also the skills, attitudes and behavior of other stakeholders in the service delivery process.
The end product that reaches the customer, be it a product or service, therefore, is the sum of all the links in the chain leading to the customer. To take the example of the customer services department of a fast moving consumer goods company, there are many links to the internal customer chain.