55% of business leaders expect to compete on service compared with 9% on price. Given that 89% of customers do business with a competitor after a poor experience it's little wonder. The challenge is that business leaders spend more time debating the ‘customer journey’ than supporting their employees to make it happen.
The key lies in creating a climate of service performance.
For all the clever CRMs and customer propositions, the single factor that makes the most difference to how a customer feels about your company is the attentiveness of the front line employee – whether that interaction is face-to-face, over the phone or through a web chat. Yes, the other parts of the jigsaw are important, but unless you get the ‘human touch’ right, all other initiatives will fall flat.
A study with the Disney Institute revealed that by far the greatest reason customers gave for leaving is indifference on the part of a frontline employee.
Most often organisations attempt to solve this by increasing employee engagement. But this rarely yields the outcomes that organisations want. Engaged people won’t necessarily delight customers. Recent research shows that the connection between employee engagement and customer outcomes is surprisingly weak.
Instead, it’s the people who behave in a way that delivers great service that makes the difference.
So the crucial question becomes: What impacts service performance? Again surprisingly, it’s not specific HR practices, like competency frameworks. The thing that makes the greatest difference is the service climate. The climate is like the mood of the organisation. Do your peers think it’s important to help customers? Do people feel like they’re supported internally to help customers?
If you want great customer outcomes you need to change the service climate.
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