Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a customer service vision, part of Managing a Customer Service Team.
- In this video I'm going to show you how to create a customer service vision for your team. This is a shared definition of outstanding service that serves as a compass to point everyone in the right direction. Creating one is the single most important task for any customer service leader. With a clear vision, teams can serve their customers at a consistently high level. Without this definition, service is often inconsistent since everyone has their own idea of what's most important. Let's take a look at how a customer service vision is created.
You may want to download the customer service vision worksheet so you can follow along. The first step is to answer a few questions that will help you focus your customer service vision on your customers. First, identify the major types of customers you serve. This can be a general statement. For example an airline might say that travelers are their primary customers. The next question is to identify what you do for them. For instance a department store might say they provide clothing and household goods.
Finally, think about how you want your customers to feel about your service. A bank might say they want their customers to feel that they have a safe and convenient place to take care of their financial needs. The next step is to use these questions to write your customer service vision. There are three hallmarks of a good vision that should guide you. One, the definition is simple and easily understood. Two, it describes the type of service we want to achieve for our customers. And three, it reflects both who we are now and who we aspire to be in the future.
A great example comes from the sporting goods retailer REI. Here's their customer service vision. "At REI, we inspire, educate, and outfit "for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship." Let's look at how this fits the three hallmarks. It's written in plain language so it's easy to understand. It focuses directly on what REI is trying to do for each customer. And it definitely reflects who REI actually is. If you shop at REI you'll see this vision in action.
Their friendly, knowledgeable employees really are passionate about the outdoors. They offer classes and equipment rentals to help you discover new adventures. And they even organize volunteers to help maintain and protect the outdoors. The final step in creating your customer service vision is to describe examples of behaviors that align with the vision. These examples help employees understand how it specifically relates to their job. For instance, a software company focuses their vision on customer loyalty.
One example of an aligned behavior happened when customers requested a software feature that wasn't available. Technical support reps were trained to find out what customers were trying to do and then show them a way to get it done using the software's existing capabilities. The technical support reps promote customer loyalty by showing customers how the software could help them accomplish their goals. There's still one thing you need to do after you've created your customer service vision and identified aligned behaviors. You'll need to share it with your team.
You'll know you've done well when every employee on your team can give a consistent answer to two questions. What is the customer service vision? And how do you use it to serve your customers? This consistency is key. If a customer service vision is your team's compass, you want to make sure that everyone is pointed in the same direction. Remember, a customer service vision is the most important element of a high performing customer service team. I encourage you to download the customer service vision worksheet contained in the exercise files and use it to create your team's vision.
- Clearly defining outstanding service for employees
- Evaluating service quality
- Identifying obstacles to outstanding service
- Aligning resources to optimize service delivery
- Calculating the cost of poor service