Business agility is the key to modern customer service success

To deliver epic service, businesses should strive to identify and meet customer expectations. [iStockphoto]

Respect, integrity, innovation, and customer focus. These are nice-sounding words that every individual and institution should swear by. They are words we hear every day, but often attach little value to. 7

For me, they are not just words. They are the values of the organisation that I work for and this being Customer Service Week, I can’t help but wonder whether businesses are truly living these values.

The best people to make that judgment, however, are not me or my team, but the customers whom we serve.

Consistent and progressive customer service is one of the biggest challenges for businesses today owing to rapidly evolving customer needs.

Thankfully, it also presents opportunities for innovation and agility for brands to win and retain the modern customer. Customer service becomes more challenging as organisations grow and the number and diversity of customers increases.

Though, whether large or small, the customer's needs remain the same. The difference is that customers may find it harder to forgive a big brand that, inadvertently or not, does not match their standards in an extremely competitive market.

How then can we make customer experience a part of our company DNA? It should be something that comes naturally to us rather than something that the management expects us to do.

In other words, we must win over those who work for us first before we can win over customers. Building a company culture is a process that starts when a company chooses to define its values which are propelled by the dignified treatment of employees, participatory decision-making, and regular two-way communication, and rooted in a shared vision.

Having built the company culture, we can then proceed to build a customer relationship management  system that helps to improve customer service relations and customer retention.

In the age of advanced technology, we can find tools that are efficient and as personalised as possible. The idea is that no customer (potential or existing) should struggle to find the help or information they need. As far as possible, it should all be available at the touch of a button. I know from experience that the reason many customers choose to part ways with their service providers is often less about the cost and more about the quality of customer experience.

To deliver epic service, businesses should strive to identify and meet customer expectations. Customers, after all, want a meaningful relationship with your business.

It is important to remember that customer service is not the responsibility of any one individual or department. It's something that can - and should - be handled by everyone on the team.

Teamwork is the key to a seamless customer journey by supporting swift resolution of issues.

Team effort also builds a high-performance culture inside an organisation with everyone taking responsibility for their actions and contributing to a satisfactory customer journey.

Customer service training, therefore, should not be an option reserved for the customer service department, but a mandatory requirement for all employees of the company. 

This then should see the building of stronger connections between customers and a company based on each interaction.  

The final point I need to make on this subject is the importance of keeping promises which is crucial to building long-term relationships with customers.

Brand promises lay the foundation for business success with customers guaranteed on what level of service to expect in both good and bad times.

It is better to under-promise and over-deliver than to promise big and under-deliver. Let’s all reflect on what this week means for our businesses and the experiences our customers get every day.