Everyone should be creating a 2012 game plan for improving customer service. As we wrap up December, our thoughts turn toward planning for the New Year. It is very important for your front-line telephone customer service reps to be included in your strategic planning process. They are the ones who interact day-to-day with your all important revenue source – your customers.
If you want to get the most from the information they can provide, it is very important to prepare them properly for a strategic planning meeting.
STEP 1: INTRODUCTION
Your reps need an agenda in advance of the meeting that explains:
- The purpose of the meeting
- How the meeting will work
- What their part will be
- What the company’s goals are for the coming year
This meeting can be a wonderful opportunity to help your customer service reps have a broader understanding of how work flows through all of the departments of your company and the role they play in that process. Assign a meeting moderator and someone to capture the information that is shared on a flip chart for everyone to see.
STEP 2: LOOKING BACK
Have participants share what they feel were your company’s successes over the past year. Then, have them share what they felt the challenges were and how they met them.
STEP 3: RESPONSIBILITIES
Have each participant talk about the following.
- What am I responsible for?
- Who do I depend on for information or for work?
- Whose work depends on me?
STEP 4: WORK FLOW
Have your reps go through an exercise where they use the information they have shared to create a list on your flip chart of all of the basic steps that are involved in servicing clients – from hiring a customer rep all the way through to collecting billings from clients and producing financial reports.
STEP 5: OPPORTUNITIES
Now you will be in a position to lead a discussion on the following:
- What should we keep doing?
- What should we do differently?
- What should we start doing that we are not doing now?
- What should we stop doing altogether?
STEP 6: LOOKING AHEAD
The final step is to put together a new strategic customer service plan moving forward. Create a chart that includes the following columns:
- Action items
- Success measurement
- Due date
This strategic customer service planning process will give you a step-by-step action plan to improve your customer service for 2012 and a way to monitor your progress. Everyone involved will understand where they are going, why, and the part they play.
What is the date your organization will meet to create your 2012 Strategic Customer Service Plan?
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.