Take an Inside-Out Approach to Improving Customer Service Scores

April 3, 2018 David Witt

Many events can trigger a customer service audit, says Kathy Cuff, co-creator of The Ken Blanchard Companies new Legendary Service training program.

“One of the times companies need to review the quality of their customer service is when they are trying to create a culture of service across the entire organization. That could be because they’ve grown or because they are merging or acquiring other companies and want to make sure there is a consistent culture as they come under one umbrella.”

Another event can be the annual customer service survey.

“Most companies have some kind of measurement tool that they use to measure customer service. It’s either a survey they send out, a Net Promoter Score evaluation, or something internal they use to measure customer perceptions about their service.”

These scores can be incredibly important, says Cuff—especially in industries such as healthcare where set standards and rankings are published nationally.

“When companies have that kind of data and are measuring constantly, they have to make sure there is consistent performance and a consistent level of service from their employees,” Cuff says.

Although she is a big believer in traditional customer service training that teaches basic skills, Cuff also believes that organizations need to take a look at how their culture impacts service.  That starts by recognizing that everyone has internal customers.

“Many customers come to us looking to improve the relationships and culture within their organization. They recognize that when people aren’t engaged with a company’s vision, mission, and values, it translates into their not being willing to go the extra mile to work with each other to improve processes. This will have a negative effect on service.”

In their development of The Ken Blanchard Companies new Legendary Service program, Cuff and co-creators Ken Blanchard and Vicki Halsey have focused on both the mindset and skill set required to serve customers at a higher level.

“It’s about looking at the relationships and mindset within the organization.  We try to get to the heart and help people realize we are all in the service business—and serving others is just as important as getting that report done, or doing that research, or making that outbound call.”

It starts at the top, with managers and senior leaders turning the organizational pyramid upside down and embracing their role in helping the people closest to the customer succeed.

“We teach managers that their number one customer is their direct report and that creating a customer service culture is an inside-out process. You have to demonstrate the same commitment, attentiveness, responsiveness, and empowerment internally as you would externally. That’s the magic of our approach.

“Whether you’re an individual contributor, a manager, or the CEO of an organization, you must recognize that you can make a difference within your own realm of influence. You can impact external and internal customers in a positive way that will keep them coming back.

“Our four-step Legendary Service model is about showing people you care.  It goes deeper than simply using someone’s name or smiling and thanking them. It’s about letting people know you are here to serve them. Every phone call, email, and interaction is about letting people know they are important to you and to the company. If they are external customers, let them know you appreciate their business. If they are internal, let them know you appreciate their work.”

This approach can succeed in any organization, says Cuff. She points to customer success in industries as diverse as healthcare, education, insurance, and business relocation services.

“At a relocation services company, for example, our client has earned more best-in-class ratings than any other company in the industry. Their net satisfaction rating is the highest among the industry’s four largest global suppliers—in fact, three times higher than any of the other three.

“The company also ranked first among the four largest global suppliers in the Willingness to Recommend category, which is widely considered to be the truest indicator of brand advocacy.”

Cuff encourages leadership, learning, and talent development professionals to learn more about the Legendary Service program and its immersive experiential design.

“It’s a one-day training that causes people to look at customer service differently.  We accomplish that through a number of activities where people get to practice what we are teaching them in the moment. That is the differentiator from other training where people just sit and take notes. This allows people to practice as they learn—and own it.”

Seeing customer service training as a culture initiative that is everyone’s responsibility is a bit of a radical approach. But organizations ready to take service to another level should give it a try, says Cuff.

“It’s an eye-opener for people. At the end of the program I often hear participants say how important it was for them to recognize internal customers. People feel great when they can connect to the bigger picture of serving others. A participant at a recent session said, ‘I’ve never thought of my peers or coworkers as customers! It’s one of the biggest aha moments I’ve had!’”

Legendary Service training is a great way to create a better customer service experience for you, your organization, and your customers!

Would you like to learn more about creating a customer service mindset in your organization?  Join us for a free webinar on April 24.

Creating a Customer-Focused Mindset in Your Organization

Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time

Great customer service, helpfulness, and collaboration are paramount to organizational success, yet few organizations have a strategic plan for building a service-minded culture. If you are responsible for creating a culture in your organization that’s focused on service, you won’t want to miss this one-hour webinar with customer service expert Kathy Cuff.

You’ll learn how to help the people in your company:

  • Define a personal service vision
  • Identify customer needs and wants
  • Develop the skills needed to build customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Create a self-empowered action plan

Learn how to create a customer service mindset that teaches your employees how to deliver ideal service to internal and external customers in a way that creates a real competitive edge for your company.

Register today!

About the Author

David  Witt

David Witt is a Program Director for Blanchard®. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.

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