The 5 W’s. Concepts that have been discussed to the ends of time and back again. So, why am I bringing them up again, for the umpteenth time? Because, a good solid idea is a good solid idea. It just needs tweaking to drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Who – EVERYONE! Even if your role is not an external customer, a client, facing position, everyone you talk to about business is a customer. Everyone, from the front line call center reps to the head office has customers. Providing excellent service to customers takes effort, it takes a conscious decision that ‘Yes, today I will give good service.’ Even if other don’t give you good service, that’s no excuse not to perform to the best of your abilities.
What – Service. From Dictionary.com: assistance and other resources that a company provides to the people who buy or use its products or services. That’s partially correct, as it covers external clients. But, a co-worker who asks you to help research an issue, or how do you perform task xxxx? That’s your customer, you are performing a service for them, helping or training.
Why – because providing outstanding service helps your company grow, both in the bottom line and a good reputation, within your industry and beyond. A good reputation with customers and potential employees is an asset that provides dividends both monetarily and a broad talent pool to pick the best of the best employees to bring on board.
When – Now!!! It’s never too late to start utilizing the tools of great customer service. Start with an easy one, say, keeping a notepad handy to write down items to follow up on. Review it during the day to check off all items have been completed. Put a sticky note on your monitor to answer the phone with smile. I’ve been one of those people who monitor phone calls in call centers, and there is absolutely a measurable difference in vocal quality and attitude when you answer the phone with a smile.
Where – At your desk, in the breakroom, in the parking lot. You may not need to be ‘on’ all the time, but you should be able to slip into that mindset quickly and easily. Eventually, it’ll become second nature. You sit down at your desk, start up the computer, and you are already flexing your CS ‘tools’, skimming a list of to do’s for the day, follow up items, etc.
And, don’t forget the solitary H…
How – However you need to. A deep breath before you start reading that first email, or put yourself in the ready state for phone calls. A good stretch, fresh cup of coffee, or tea. Long drink from an icy cold Coke, or Dr. Pepper, what have you. Keep a notepad handy, a MP3 player with some good music, or an audiobook. The How’s are as varied as the customer’s you encounter. The basic CS tools are really going to be the same, but the How different people get those tools ready is as varied as the customers there are out there in the world.
In further posts I’ll break out the different Ws and the H to bring out my view of each.