Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Making a business case to invest in service, part of Managing a Customer Service Team.
- Here's a challenge faced by many customer service leaders. Your team is swamped and you can't seem to get ahead. You want to hire more people, but it's not in the budget and your request for budget is denied. With no help in sight, your team falls further behind. Why are requests like these so often denied? It's helpful to view a request for additional staffing from a purely financial perspective. The proposal to hire additional staff adds costs in the form of more employees, but the financial benefit to the business hasn't been clearly outlined.
In this video, I'm going to walk you through the process of making a business case for investing in customer service. I can't guarantee every proposal you make will be successful, but these steps will at least give you a better chance. Step 1 is to Identify Executive Hot Buttons. Executive decision makers tend to have one or two issues they really care about. I call this their hot buttons. For some it's purely financial. Others might also be focused on maintaining a certain image for the company, or perhaps they have a pet peeve, such as seeing customers waiting in line.
We need to know these hot buttons so we can craft our business case around the issues our executives really care about. Step 2 is to Gather Evidence. We need to gather some data to demonstrate how the issue is impacting the business. For example, if you wanted to hire more employees, you'd want to first identify ways that not having enough employees was hurting the business. You might look at overtime cost required to handle growing customer demand, reduced customer satisfaction as a result of customers waiting for service, and lost revenue from customers who got tired waiting for service and took their business elsewhere.
This step elevates the case from we're too busy to a more impactful analysis of the costs associated with being too busy. Step 3 is to Identify Solutions. It's important to fully calculate the cost of implementing your proposed solution so its impact can be compared to its cost. If you wanted to hire more staff, you might consider the cost to recruit and train the new hires plus the cost of their salaries. You might need to add new equipment or workstations to accommodate your new employees.
It's also important to consider the timeline since it can take quite a while before new employees are hired, trained, and contributing to the team. When you do this analysis, you'll need to be able to demonstrate that your solution is good for the organization. For instance, if you want to hire more staff, the key question is whether this will result in decreased costs, improved customer satisfaction, or more revenue that will outweigh the cost of bringing new people onboard. Sometimes you can make a compelling business case, but it still doesn't fly because executives are reluctant to spend money.
That's when you need to understand their hot buttons. For instance, if an executive cares about the company's brand image, you might show them what people are saying online about having to wait too long due to your staffing shortage. To apply what you've learned in this video, I encourage you to pick something you'd like to invest in. Perhaps it's more staff, new technology, or additional equipment. See if you can make a strong business case for this investment and present it to your company's executives. Even if you don't get the green light, going through this process will help you see your team from your executive's perspective.
- 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