An Effective Customer Service Organization Strategy

An Effective Customer Service Organization Strategy
Defining Customer Service

Customer service is now a function that is built into the very fabric of the total service delivery and designing system. Customer service involves task-oriented activities, other than proactive selling, that involve interactions with customers in person, by telecommunications or by mail.

Two main criteria of designing and performing a service function.
  1. Customer satisfaction
  2. Operational efficiency

Customer service emphasizes front-stage activities (some delivered by telecommunications).  All personnel who routinely have customer contact have customer responsibilities, even if working for operations.

Computer technology and telecommunications make it possible to offer national or even global customer service out of a central location on a real-time basis, 24 hours, 7 days a week. 

  • Delivery options include
  • Toll-free phone numbers
  • Web sites
  • E-mail
  • Electronic self-service equipment such as ATMs.
An Effective Customer Service Organization Strategy
An Effective Customer Service Organization Strategy
Factors influence the nature of customer service function:
  1. Presence/absence of intermediaries

Who may perform customer contact tasks?

  1. High contact vs. Low contact

A greater customer involvement means more CC tasks and greater importance for effective, synergistic CS management.

  1. Institutional vs. Individual purchases

The latter introduces greater variability into the CS process, although the former may involve coordination between contact persons within the client organisation.

  1. Duration of service delivery process

Longer processes pose a need to provide information on work-in-progress.

  1. Capacity-constrained services

likely to require queuing control and/or reservations systems.

  1. Frequency of use/repurchase.

Regular customers may need less information/education but seek recognition/rewards (e.g. frequent flyer programs) for repeated usage.

  1. Level of complexity

More complex services need to focus on assisting inexperienced customers and contingency plans for problem resolution.

Guidelines for Effective Service Program Implementation
  1. Recruit the right employees
  2. Train employees properly
  3. Educate customers and employees
  4. Be efficient first, nice second
  5. Standardize response systems
  6. Develop a pricing policy
  7. Consider using subcontractors
  8. Be proactive – look for opportunities to do more for customers
  9. Evaluate performance regularly
  10. Acknowledge and affirm good work
  11. Take appropriate action to improve defective work
Employees and Customer Service

Employees plays a central role in serving customers effectively within any reputed organization.  They are critical to the delivery of the core and supplementary services, and when services fail, employees are critical in service-recovery efforts.  Those service personnel who directly interface with customers are referred to as ‘boundary spanners’ and can experience significant stress. 

Findings from the audit will establish the current situation and provide a basis for planning the future scope and quality of the customer service effort.  There is also needed to appraise competitive efforts.

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