Principles may provide a springboard for great customer service but without actions they are meaningless. The great German-Prussian statesman Otto Bismarck said it best:
When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn’t the slightest intention of putting it into practice.
Companies who have nice slide-ware but who neglect the follow-through are committed to marketing and window dressing, but nothing more – certainly not customer service.
If you’re looking for a guiding light I recommend an article by Lyndsay Swinton which I found:
- Comprehensive – Includes product design as a contributing factor to service and doesn’t merely point to fast response. Quality customer service relies on the entire company working together.
- Simple – Understand customers’ needs and meet them. What could be simpler than that? BUT… companies that sell products without determining the customer’s business goals may make the sale, yet fail to create relationships that drive future sales.
- Balanced – Many principles include something pithy like “the customer is always right.” BUT… companies whose customers are always right have employees who are often wrong. This article presents a more accurate picture. For example “under-staffed, under-trained employees will not deliver good quality customer service, driving customers away.”
The pivot point is that as great as these principles are, to derive value from customer service, your company must take actions to implement them.
Today, take a moment, and see which guiding lights in your company’s customer service principles are burnt out.