The Customer Service Shift: 4 Ways to Adjust in 2014

On December 27, 2013 by Sara Carter

customer service shift

Imagine this scenario. A customer of your upscale grocery food market is  getting married and wants nothing more than to serve your specialty red and  white wines to her over 200 guests. Sounds like a great sale right?  Unfortunately, the policy at your store is that you don’t allow bulk purchases  of wine and if something does go on sale, there is a small limit of how much you  can buy.

Now imagine this customer called into your customer service center and talked  with a script-reading representative who was not empowered to provide a remarkable customer experience. Most likely, this customer  would hear “I’m sorry Mrs.; it is against store policy to sell you more than 3  bottles of wine.”

An unfortunate missed opportunity to WOW.

This situation played out a few years back, may not affect your brand like it  would today. Today, however, this missed attempt at helping a customer would be  all over social media, shared with hundreds, if not thousands of people, not to  mention with all of the wedding guests.

Thankfully, this real life situation happened a few weeks ago with a customer  engagement center that understood the difference between customer service and a  customer experience. Recognizing a fantastic opportunity, the representative  identified the store most frequented by the customer, made sure enough bottles  were in stock and ready to go for pickup. The experience didn’t stop there. They  also offered the customer 50% off her favorite steaks to enjoy with the wine as  well. The customer was ecstatic.

This is the new expectation for customer service. Welcome to 2014–It’s all  about the experience.

How do you adjust to these expectations?

1) Get Over Yourself In the eyes of the customer, it’s  not about you. Not your product , your awards, your great employees, your  business experience or anything else that starts with YOU…stop thinking about  YOU. Reposition your thinking and ask yourself “What problem am I solving?” and “How am I making a difference in someone’s life?” When you begin to think in a  customer-centric way, the customer will become the center of everything you do.  This shift in thinking is how a culture based around the customer experience  evolves.

2) Break the Rules While rules and processes are  necessary to keep a business in line, a level of empowerment needs to be given  to team members when the customer experience will be impacted. Like the example  given above, rules are better off broken when a win-win opportunity presents  itself.

3) Start Now The road to elevated customer experiences  and delighted customers doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a cultural overtaking  that starts with how you hire, train, empower and motivate. One way to start the  mindset shift right now is by changing titles. Instead of having a “supervisor”, how about having a “coach”? Or instead of having a “call center agent”, how  about having a “customer advocate”? Of course the purpose of these title  transitions need to be communicated so the team member fully understands how  they play a role in the cultural progression.

4) Keep Learning The road to a superior,  customer-centric company is ongoing. Keep engaging with others on best practices  and never stop reading on the topic. Check out this link on the “15 Essential Books on How to Love Customers.” The first book  mentioned I read a few years back and it completely changed my perspective on  the importance of customer service. A good read to pick up for your team  members.

What are your tips to adjust to the new expectations of customer  service?


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