Taking a Customer-First Approach to Service Excellence

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Organizations that deliver exceptional customer support typically have at least a few things in common. They listen closely to what customers are asking for and not only act on customer feedback but they also communicate back to customers how and whether their requests were acted on. They align their customer service processes and practices with customer-centric goals and objectives. These organizations also strive to make it easy for customer-facing employees to provide customers with seamless support to ensure that both customers and employees have exceptional experiences. In short, as evidenced by the three winners of the Innovation in Service Excellence category for the 2015 Gartner & 1to1 Media Customer Experience Excellence Awards, they provide a customer-focused approach to delivering great service.
Customer Engagement

Organizations that deliver exceptional customer support typically have at least a few things in common. They listen closely to what customers are asking for and not only act on customer feedback but they also communicate back to customers how and whether their requests were acted on. They align their customer service processes and practices with customer-centric goals and objectives. These organizations also strive to make it easy for customer-facing employees to provide customers with seamless support to ensure that both customers and employees have exceptional experiences. In short, as evidenced by the three winners of the Innovation in Service Excellence category for the 2015 Gartner & 1to1 Media Customer Experience Excellence Awards, they provide a customer-focused approach to delivering great service.For instance, LinkedIn, the Gold award winner for the Innovation in Service Excellence category, shifted from a product focus to a concentration around the needs of its members under its `Members First' initiative. In fact, LinkedIn's Members First initiative has since become one of the company's core values after senior management recognized that in order to support the transition it needed the blending of its people, processes, and technologies to achieve its vision. This includes a member-centric support team that listens to and anticipates the needs of its members.

Customer-centric organizations are also willing to try new technologies and new techniques for providing better support experiences. For its part, the New York City Police Department, the Silver award winner for the Innovation in Service Excellence category, has developed one of the most comprehensive social media operations in law enforcement after barely having a social media presence in early 2014. The NYPD now has 106 active Twitter accounts, including one for each of its 77 precincts. Each of its precinct commanders are now actively engaged on Twitter, helping to strengthen community relations.

At the core of a voice of the customer initiative that's aimed at providing a closed-loop process for responding to customer feedback, 1-800-CONTACTS, the Bronze award winner for the Innovation in Service Excellence category, has focused on making each customer experience both special and memorable. One of the ways it has done this is by adding the following open-ended question to its revamped customer experience survey: "Is there anything we can do to make your experience better?" One loyal customer who requested a candy bar was immediately sent a box of candy bars. Another customer requested a pizza which was delivered to his home that same night. A different customer requested a blanket for a surgery patient which was also promptly delivered.

As LinkedIn, NYPD, and 1-800-CONTACTS demonstrate, organizations that deliver exceptional customer service develop a well-designed strategy for delivering on customer expectations.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION