Monday, April 2, 2012

7 Ways HR can Contribute to Exceptional Customer Service

It seems like every organization I interact with is claiming to be customer focused, customer centric or they are putting the customer first.

I started thinking abut whose job is it, to be customer focused?  Is is the Customer Service Department's job?  Is it the job of operations?

I happen to think it is everyone's job.  Yes, customer service has the role of servicing and delighting customers but organizations also have internal customers as well.  So, even if an employee is not customer facing doesn't mean that he/she does not have to have exceptional customer service skills.

I also happen to believe that HR plays a huge role in customer service.  After all, who is responsible for hiring, training and evaluating employees as it relates to exceptional customer service?

Here is just a partial list on how HR can contribute to exceptional customer service:

  1. Hire customer centric employees using behavioral based tools that identify customer centric traits and/or behaviors.
  2. Train employees on exceptional customer service skills, defining what the experience looks like in the organization.
  3. Create reward and recognition programs that invent customer-centric behaviors.
  4. Make sure job descriptions include customer-centric tasks/behaviors
  5. Link performance management process to overall customer service goals and objectives.
  6. Make sure managers and leaders understand the link between engaged employees and exceptional customer service
  7. Hold managers accountable for customer service levels for their departments
Companies like Apple, Zappo's and the Ritz absolutely understand that customer service is everyone's job and that the underlying infrastructure is key to getting the customer focused strategy executed.   All departments and functions must work together in order to pull off consistent, exceptional service.  

What is your secret to delighting your customers?  How has HR contributed to that success?  What do you measure in terms of the customer experience?

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