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How can you educate customers about the role they play in a company providing them with an outstanding customer experience? Perhaps we can, in some way, educate customers about effective two-way interaction?

Have a clear understanding with customers about how you can enhance their experience. If you come at 9:00 a.m. instead of 11:00 we can get you right in. If you can wait until Monday then I can give you what you want. Again make it clear to the public what you can do and what you can’t do. Clarity and telling the truth are always the right approaches.

Lee Cockerell (Retired and Inspired) Founder Lee Cockerell, Author of,Creating Magic,The Customer Rules,Time Management Magic; Career Magic, Thrive15.com

Don’t educate your customers. There is no way near a “master-apprentice” relationship. In fact, the customer educates YOU how he/she expect/want to be treated. They vote with their feet: when you don’t meet their expectations, they’ll leave you. The mowt loyal customers will share their disappointment with you, just to give you 1 chance -and 1 chance only- to recover your service. A customer expects YOU to listen, to understand and to act accordingly. It’ll never be the other way around.

Marco P. HouthuijzenCustomer Care Manager, Sales Manager, Senior Customer Success Manager, Growth Hacker

There is no perhaps involved. Marketing and customer experience is something we do with the customer, not to the customer. The customer needs to be involved all the way. What are their needs? How would they like them filled? What can we do to make their lives easier? All of this requires us to have two way communication with the customer. Are we really listening? Can we hear between the lines? Customers don’t always know what they want, but they do know what they need help with. It is our job to understand what they need and then to give it to them. This is what will make their customer experience truly outstanding. A great way to start a good dialogue with the customer is how you handle complaints. Find out why the customer is unhappy. Look at it from their perspective. Now make it right. It is a subjective process, based on an open dialogue between you and the customer. Can we scale these solutions to other customers? Now you have found a new market segment. We need to be accessible, and what Peppers and Rogers call “Trustable”. The financial payoff is definitely worth it.

Dr. Moshe DavidowService2Profit-Improving Your Business Performance | Customer Centricity, Service Quality+Internal, Complaint Handling Adjunct Lecturer at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Editor at Journal of Creating Value Lecturer in Marketing and Services

Communication is one of the big parts of a customer relationship. Ask questions, listen to answers, make suggestions, get buy-in to those suggestions, ask for feedback, ask how we can be better, etc. Communication is one of the cornerstones of an outstanding customer experience.

Shep Hyken Customer Service and Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

Own it, make it as easy as possible for the customer. The best companies, Apple, Zappos, Uber, & Amazon found out what the bottleneck was for customers to do business with their competitors and they figured out how to remove that pain point. It is your job to create the system, the solution, eliminate any user error that can occur.

John DiJuliusAn international consultant & best selling author of two books he works with companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PwC, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A & many more.

Customers have higher and higher expectations especially when interaction with brands over digital channels. Every response we give them is a business opportunity: fixing their issues but also to proving them once again that we are their best fit. More specifically, I suggest to to leverage the ‘best conversations’ (those where customers expressing gratitude) to teach them how to behave to save our time in order to let them save theirs. I remember that 20 years ago my first boss use to say ‘help us to help you’ and he was right! It is our interest to engage and educate our customers, day by day, regardless the channels we interact with.

Paolo Fabrizio ✔ Social Customer Service I Author I Trainer I Speaker [ITA ENG SPA]

The best education for customers is what they witness you doing!

Chip BellSenior Partner at The Chip Bell Group | Author | Keynote Speaker | Innovative Service | Customer Loyalty

When we have a real, two way, interactive conversation with a customer, for example someone we do business with regularly, it’s relatively easy to find out what each other wants and what makes each other tick. However, when it’s a one off transaction or if I have an issue, I appreciate a company that tells me exactly what they need from me. Why not say on your website, when contacting us, make sure you have this ready, or that to hand. Then I would know what’s expected of me when I make contact. Let’s also publish the stories where a customer has made our job, and ultimately theirs, easier and more straightforward. This will start to build expectations and let other customers know how they can make their journey easier. Talk to your customer service advisors and ask them what customers can do to make life easier for everyone and they’ll soon tell you. Let customers know all the ways they can contact us, let them know they can contact us when and how they want to – then they’ll be aware that they don’t have to call if they can email, don’t have to wait for a call back if they can web chat while doing something else. Let’s communicate and everyone will be happier! On the other hand, if the customer is always right, then they’re doing their part of the interaction already because whatever they do, it’s our job to love them!

Mike MurphyCX Leader & Practitioner, Performance Specialist, Business Strategy and Transformation.

The first thing you must do is if you are soliciting feedback from them via VOC surveys, then make sure that you provide them with regular updates on how their feedback is making a difference. In other words don’t ask if you can’t act. Then encourage and/or invite them to participate in other feedback activities as part of a focus group or a customer/employee cross-functional session on how to improve CX. This will give them an opportunity to see things from you perspective and also play a role in fixing issues.

Gerry Brown Saving the World from Bad Customer Service – Customer Experience Specialist, Speaker on Customer Inspired Thinking

One of the best approaches is customer co-creation or customer insight panels! If they feel a sense of involvement, they will buy into the results.

Tema FrankCustomer Experience Speaker/Consultant/Trainer/ Author of “PeopleShock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule”

What would be your advice to someone who arrives at a new company and finds that its customer experience problems are being very poorly handled?

Here is the real answer to why we (the business/employees) feel we deliver customer service so much better than our customers perceive: we are not in our customers’ shoes. The vast majority of Customer facing employees cannot relate to their Customers. Many times they may have little in common with their Customers, they might be a different generation, quality of life, and most of all, have never been a Customer of the product or service they are selling. We do not relate to their reality. We are not and have never been them. And if you can’t relate to someone else’s situation or circumstances, it is impossible to have any kind of empathy for them. Without empathy, you lack compassion and creativity. World-class service organizations teach their employees to view things from the customer’s perspective. Remember, many employees have never been their own customer, have never needed the services and products their company provides, cannot comprehend what the customer’s mind-set is. Therefore, they do not relate well and find it difficult to empathize, be compassionate, and anticipate customer needs.

John DiJuliusAn international consultant & best selling author of two books he works with companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PwC, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A & many more.

A book could be written to answer this question! As an operator, I always try to understand a problem … get to the root cause. What is the definition of ‘very poorly handled?’ How are we measuring that and how did I reach that conclusion. Once the problem is fully understood, the journey to solving it begins. From there we could go thousands of different directions. The most important piece of information to get started is to understand how and why CX problems are being poorly handled.

Steven CarletonPresident, CustomerMatters | Former Head of Customer Experience @eBay | CustomerJourney Speaker | Passionate about CX

Examine the culture of the organization to learn what core values are driving the manner which front line employees’ are dealing with customers. Perhaps delighted customers is not nearly important as other factors. Get front line employees involved in gathering intelligence about what problems are being mishandled and learn their ideas for how to improve. Start a company initiative to “listen to customers” (or VOC) in countless ways to learn the systemic reasons that mishandling is occurring. What are executive leadership talking about in the organization? If it is not “all about the customer” it might be very revealing.

Chip BellSenior Partner at The Chip Bell Group | Author | Keynote Speaker | Innovative Service | Customer Loyalty

It depends on what the new person’s role is within the new company. If the new person is in a management role, then I would suggest they begin to ask questions to determine awareness of the issue and what if anything is being done to address said issue. if the new person’s role finds them in front of the customer, then it becomes necessary to speak with their immediate supervisor about their concerns and gauge the response to determine if the level of awareness and level of commitment to address the concerns.

Errol AllenCustomer Service Focused Operations Expert, Consultant, Speaker & Author

The first thing I would want to know is who has responsibility for CX in the company. If this person is a peer, or more junior to you then you should be able to have a frank conversation to learn more about the challenges being faced. If they are senior to you then it can be more challenging, but nonetheless if you have come to the business with a strong CX reputation you should still be able to get an audience, but you will probably need to be more sensitive about how you approach the issues. In either case, and assuming there is a desire to do something about it, then I would suggest that you are the first volunteer for the “new” cross-functional team that will address these issues. It’s likey that you won’t be alone in wanting to do something about it, and shouldn’t have too many problems in gaining support and participation. Clearly this should have the sponsorship of a senior executive and they will need to know that there will be a measurable ROI for any steps taken as this is generally what holds back any CX program. This won’t be easy, but if you get the OK for the initial session ensure that it is a constructive, but frank and honest assessment of the current state of the nation and that you can play this back, along with some high level recommendations to the senior team, along with the associated benefits. If the problems truly run deep, then you should be able to identify some “quick wins” that will improve CX for customers, demonstrate an authentic desire to change for colleagues and ideally provide some initial financial or reputational benefits for the business. This needn’t take a long time nor be prohibitively expensive and if done right can establish the foundations and blueprint for a strong CX program .

Gerry Brown Saving the World from Bad Customer Service – Customer Experience Specialist, Speaker on Customer Inspired Thinking

Under the assumption that the company truly wants to improve their CX efforts, there could be two main reasons for the problems. One is the plan is good but the implementation is flawed, and the other is that the plan is flawed. You need to find out which and fix it. A great place to start is your customer complaint department. If they aren’t focused on being customer centric, neither will the company. If they are, then the problem is implementation. Either way, you now know what to fix. Good Luck!

Dr. Moshe DavidowService2Profit-Improving Your Business Performance | Customer Centricity, Service Quality+Internal, Complaint Handling Adjunct Lecturer at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Editor at Journal of Creating Value Lecturer in Marketing and Services

“Not sure what “”customer experience problems”” means here. Again, I don’t think about this as the front line, but rather the end to end one company experience. Usually CX issues occur because the silos aren’t uniting and because of competing metrics and because leaders aren’t united in understanding the baseline of the disjointed experience they are inadvertently delivering today. A key first action is to redefine the customer journey from the customers’ point of view, and then bring in customers or customer feedback and have leaders as teams evaluate the one-company reliability of the experience being delivered in each stage – from the CUSTOMERS’ perspective. If they are honest, and check their silos at the door, they will see as a team, that the experience is largely unreliable. This action gets traction and starts to explain in operational terms, the work ahead. “

Jeanne BlissCustomer Experience Pioneer. Chief Customer Officer. Keynote Speaker. Executive Advisor. Author. Co-founder CXPA.org

Awesome question. Let me start with a DON’T. Whatever you do, don’t come across negatively (“Hey, we are really horrible at dealing with problems..”). The best bet is to first earn a reputation as a customer service superstar. After that, you can begin to gradually make suggestions and recommendations as to how things can be improved.

Shaun BeldingCEO The Belding Group, Best-Selling Author, Customer service expert, Acclaimed customer service keynote speaker, LinkedIn group owner “Customer Service Champions” 100K+ Members, Co-Host of the CX Success Summit

The first thing I would do is go and better understand what is happening and why problems are occurring. Often there is a difference between what we assume is happening and reality.

Adrian SwinscoeCustomer Engagement, Experience and Service Consultant/Coach | Speaker | Author | Blogger & Forbes contributor

If customer service issues are not being handled well across the board, you should look in three areas: culture and hiring, resources and empowerment, and frontline training. Great reactive service can only be provided by a customer-centric team composed of the right team members. Assuming your culture is strong and your team is customer focused, then you need to make sure you have given them the resources and empowerment to be able to resolve customer experience problems in real time. Finally, your team must be trained to handle difficult situations and to use the resources and empowerment you provide them to resolve issues as positively and quickly as possible.

Adam ToporekCustomer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Master Trainer | Rock your socks off presentations that are engaging, dynamic, and immediately actionable!

To sum it up…

It depends on the position you are hired for, that would determine how you could approach it. Also to get a clear picture how CX is defined, who’s involved, what systems are in place or not, what’s working and what’s not. Do the employees relate to the customer, can they?  ~ Abraham

How do you recommend handling customer service employees who focus primarily on up-sales without regard to providing better customer service?

Authenticity needs to be ingrained in all employees. It isn’t about building the sale; it is about building the relationship, so that you end up with a customer long term. Educating customers is more important than selling customers. When you educate sometimes that means you find out they don’t need what you have right now. But when you demonstrate their needs are more important than getting sales, and then you own that person. They will come back and trust you.

John DiJuliusAn international consultant & best selling author of two books he works with companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PwC, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A & many more.

First, I’d investigate why the focus is on up-selling. My guess is that these employees are being rewarded to up-sell. If that is the case, I’d revise the culture and direction of the organization to focus on building trust and loyalty with each customer. Only after those have been established should we begin to broach deepening our relationship with our customers.

Asking a customer to spend more money with us should be the natural extension of a deeper and trusting relationship. Once the relationship has matured to that point, an offer of value can be made and it will feel natural to both parties. Absent that mature relationship, customers will simply feel like they are getting a slimy sales job.

Steven CarletonPresident, CustomerMatters | Former Head of Customer Experience @eBay | CustomerJourney Speaker | Passionate about CX

What gets measured, gets rewarded–meaning, it gets all the attention. If up-sales are valued far more than service quality, you will get the focus that is valued. Sometimes commissions on up-sales should be paid out only after the customer remains a customer for a certain period of time–like a year. Does better customer service really matter to customer service employees? Find out how they view the two goals and whether these goals are set up to be conflicting or mutually important. We all know the stats on the value of customer retention versus customer acquisition.

Chip BellSenior Partner at The Chip Bell Group | Author | Keynote Speaker | Innovative Service | Customer Loyalty

I look at the company’s performance rewards system first. What does the company reward – up sales or great customer service? Some employees choose to focus on where they can gain the most rewards. It’s not always about what the employees focus on, but what the company entices them to focus on by what behavior is most rewarded – in this case – up sales or great customer service.

Errol AllenCustomer Service Focused Operations Expert, Consultant, Speaker & Author

Again, Jasmin, start with why. Do customer service employees receive a bonus for up-sales? If so, they’ll tend to hard sales methods. According to them (and their managers), delivering better customer service takes more time and -in their view- time = money. A focus on hard sales is based on a short term revenue/profit. It’s an “inside out”, non customer centric strategy: it’s a way to let customers buy the products/services YOU want them to buy. What we know is this:
Service = sales
Service = marketing.
A customer centric, “outside in” strategy will offer products and services that the customer (really) NEEDS:
There differences?

Inside out
A customer walks into a hardware store.
Salesman: “Good morning, sir. How can I help you?”
Customer: “I need a drill.”
Salesman takes the customer to the drill section and starts to explain the differences between the drills and -ofcourse- will pay more attention to the premium brand drills and their capabilities. Possibly the customer will buy the most recommended (expensive) drill.

Outside in
A customer walks into a hardware store.
Salesman: “Good morning, sir. How can I help you?”
Customer: “I need a drill.”
Salesman: “What do you need a drill for, sir?”
Customer: “I need to hang a painting on the wall.”
Salesman; “I bet it is a wonderful painting. Do you know what the measurements of the painting are?
Customer: “O, it is beautiful, my daughter made it. It’s 20 inches x 10 inches.”
Salesman: “And what kind of wall would you like to hang it on?”
Customer: “A plaster wall.”
Salesman: “I don’t think you need a drill, sir. I would recomend you to use these powerstrips, so you don’t need a drill or damage the wall. The strips can handle up to 2 kilos and are removable.”
Customer: “Wow! Are they expensive?”
Salesman: “Just US$ 4.50, sir. And if you aren’t satisfied with the strips, you can bring them back and I’ll refund you the US$ 4.50.”

What do you think, Jasmin, which customer will be the most happy one?

Marco P. Houthuijzen Customer Care Manager, Sales Manager, Senior Customer Success Manager, Growth Hacker

Let’s assume the company expects employees to provide better service (not a given, this could be the source of the problem). There is no “I” in team, but there is a “me”. First, you need to check your company incentives. What gets measured gets done, and according to Quality Guru Deming, 94% of all quality problems are management related. If your incentives are causing employees to up-sell rather than take care of the customer, then you only have yourself to blame. Change the incentives, not the employees. If your incentives are not the problem, talk to the employee and try and figure out why he is going against company policy. This, again, may be something easily fixable, a simple lack of communication. As a last resort, if the problem is not communication, or incentives, or something else the employee mentioned; then the problem is with the employee, and only then would I recommend firing the employee. This will also show the other employees that the company is serious about providing better customer service. “Shape up or ship out,” as the old slogan goes.

Dr. Moshe DavidowService2Profit-Improving Your Business Performance | Customer Centricity, Service Quality+Internal, Complaint Handling Adjunct Lecturer at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Editor at Journal of Creating Value Lecturer in Marketing and Services

This is about leadership and incentives, not the front line. My first action is always to engage the leadership in understanding the loss of customers and reasons, and subtract customer losses from customer gains. This puts a fine point on the importance of rescuing customers in distress who take business with them when their needs are not handled. If leaders would focus the call center on revenue rescue, not as an opportunity to just upsell – they would change the metrics and give people the time and training to add value first.

Jeanne BlissCustomer Experience Pioneer. Chief Customer Officer. Keynote Speaker. Executive Advisor. Author. Co-founder CXPA.org

The most effective approach is to convincingly connect the dots between service and sales. Position it so that it is not an ‘either/or’ proposition, but instead two sides of the same coin. It is hard to upsell if you have mediocre service. It is equally hard to provide good service if you aren’t prepared to occasionally upsell a customer to a more appropriate product or service.

Shaun BeldingCEO The Belding Group, Best-Selling Author, Customer service expert, Acclaimed customer service keynote speaker, LinkedIn group owner “Customer Service Champions” 100K+ Members, Co-Host of the CX Success Summit

The first thing I would do is go and better understand what is happening and why problems are occurring. Often there is a difference between what we assume is happening and reality.

Adrian SwinscoeCustomer Engagement, Experience and Service Consultant/Coach | Speaker | Author | Blogger & Forbes contributor

If customer service issues are not being handled well across the board, you should look in three areas: culture and hiring, resources and empowerment, and frontline training. Great reactive service can only be provided by a customer-centric team composed of the right team members. Assuming your culture is strong and your team is customer focused, then you need to make sure you have given them the resources and empowerment to be able to resolve customer experience problems in real time. Finally, your team must be trained to handle difficult situations and to use the resources and empowerment you provide them to resolve issues as positively and quickly as possible.

Adam ToporekCustomer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Master Trainer | Rock your socks off presentations that are engaging, dynamic, and immediately actionable!

To sum it up… 

It depends on were the company puts their priority.  From your question, it seems that the it’s really not customer service, but sales. Sounds like the company has a different understanding of what customer service is. I was just reading Shaun’s featured post in his LinkedIn group asking to define “Customer Service in one word”  he got over 8500 comments! (here’s the link: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/customerservicechampions So it’s not surprising that a “Customer Service Department” is really a sales force.

So what do to about it? 

The experts are telling us to find out what is driving this. How do they value customer service vs sales? Are they losing good customers and good employees because of this policy? If they are then it’s time to make the change. How to make the change? Well, that’s what the CX Success Summit is all about! You’ve come to the right place! 

~ Abraham

3

Most Think Your CX Ain’t so Grand… Want to Know Why?

You might claim you have “Superior Customer Experience” but do your clients think so?
REALITY CHECK…

Quoting from an article in Harvard Business Review:

“…Bain & Company’s recent survey of the customers of 362 companies. Only 8% of them described their experience as “superior,” yet 80% of the companies surveyed believe that the experience they have been providing is indeed superior.” (full article here)

So I asked the experts… “Why is that?”

Here’s what they have to say:

I think that because companies focus on acquisition over retention they believe that they’ve delivered a great experience in order to get all of these new customers in the door. In reality, they’ve done nothing to keep their existing customers, so there’s this leaky bucket effect. The percentage of customers who describe the experience as superior would be much larger if companies focused on keeping their existing customers.

Annette FranzEmployee & Customer Experience Optimization | Journey Mapping | CXPA Board Member | Author | Speaker

In many companies, the leaders are disconnected from the front line experience. It would be helpful for them to spend time with cusomer support, spending a day in the field with sales reps, etc. In other words, get connected in real-time to the customer. Another issue is that the communication from the front line to leadership is often lost or intercepted – or worse, received but handed off to another department without much thought. The best customer focused companies are connected at all levels to their customers and they have made service aprt of of their culture.

Skep HykenCustomer Service and Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

I think that is the case because most companies do not take the time to “put their customers shoes on” and experience their company from the customer’s perspective. The 8% vs 80% scenario mentioned above is an indicator that a significant gap exists in the customer’s and company’s perspective. Some companies do not take the time to determine what is important to the customer or solicit meaningful information from the customer.

Errol AllenCustomer Service Focused Operations Expert, Consultant, Speaker & Author

Here is the real answer to why we (the business/employees) feel we deliver customer service so much better than our customers perceive: we are not in our customers’ shoes. The vast majority of Customer facing employees cannot relate to their Customers. Many times they may have little in common with their Customers, they might be a different generation, quality of life, and most of all, have never been a Customer of the product or service they are selling. We do not relate to their reality. We are not and have never been them. And if you can’t relate to someone else’s situation or circumstances, it is impossible to have any kind of empathy for them. Without empathy, you lack compassion and creativity. World-class service organizations teach their employees to view things from the customer’s perspective. Remember, many employees have never been their own customer, have never needed the services and products their company provides, cannot comprehend what the customer’s mind-set is. Therefore, they do not relate well and find it difficult to empathize, be compassionate, and anticipate customer needs.

John DiJuliusAn international consultant & best selling author of two books he works with companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PwC, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A & many more.

This is an issue that has been on-going for some time and similar surveys have uncovered the same results. It generally happens because business often base their view of CX on a single customer service interaction as measured by an NPS or CES score. So a customer calling a customer service person may have a really good experience and be treated very well, but when it comes to other aspects such as delivery, product quality, billing etc., their experiences are very different. This is usually due to companies not recognizing that unless they engage and involve the whole company in CX delivery that survey results such as this will be the norm. But, unless you take an outside in view and involve people from across the business in a deeper, more introspective and comprehensive view of the company, you won’t be truly able to see yourselves as others see you. This doesn’t necessarily involve huge numbers of people or massive expense, just a willingness to invest in a better future. My own experience has shown that a small employee team given accessibility, responsibility and accountability will relish the opportunity to make a difference, and a press gang approach won’t be necessary. Once you have them in place and they realize it’s not just a vanity exercise, it won’t be hard to get them to share their own experiences from their own departments and day to day experiences. They’ll tell you where the bodies are buried, probably produce a detailed map and share what words they have to say to customers or actions they take, that embarrasses them and that they would change. While these won’t be the only people to provide feedback and get the show on the road, their’s will be honest, clear and free of corporate double talk. So start advertising for volunteers now and the gap between perception and reality will begin to narrow.

Gerry Brown Saving the World from Bad Customer Service – Customer Experience Specialist, Speaker on Customer Inspired Thinking

I have actually done research on this question and presented my results at a number of conferences. The short answer is because managers are from Mars and customers are from Venus. This is not a “Failure to Communicate”, it is a failure to understand. Managers don’t know what they don’t know. And that brings us to the long answer. This is an efficiency vs. effectiveness debate (again). Managers are logical and have been trained (wrongly) to be efficient with customers. Customers are emotional. They buy products and services for how these products and services make them feel. As long as managers don’t understand that customers care more about feelings than about products, they will continue to think their experience is great. The fact is, based on their objective measures, it is. The problem is that they are measuring the wrong things. Managers need to change their objective measures into more subjective, customer based measures. This means they need to understand what emotions are critical to customers. The measures are available, it is simply that most managers don’t use them (almost 10% of managers do get it right). This isn’t just the managers fault, most business schools don’t teach them. As long as this Myopia continues, managers will have a hard time creating experiences that customers will think are great. Companies need to find a CCO (chief customer officer) who understands this and can transform the firm centric organization into a customer centric organization. It is not a lost cause, and it is well worth the search. Organizations usually say that they cannot afford to do it (focusing on the cost). I say that organizations cannot afford to not do it (focusing on the benefit).

Dr. Moshe DavidowService2Profit-Improving Your Business Performance | Customer Centricity, Service Quality+Internal, Complaint Handling Adjunct Lecturer at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Editor at Journal of Creating Value Lecturer in Marketing and Services

We believe this is because the 8% have deployed a service strategy and have implemented Standards by which to provide consistent and measurable quality service to customers. That is the differentiator.

Pat PorrasTrainer & Speaker: I train and educate participants thru engaging & highly interactive workshops – Specializing in Strategic Sales & Service.

Robbie Burns said it best: “O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!” Precious few senior leaders make an effort to actually experience what it is like to be one of their own customers. The ones that do are the 8%.

Shaun BeldingCEO The Belding Group, Best-Selling Author, Customer service expert, Acclaimed customer service keynote speaker, LinkedIn group owner “Customer Service Champions” 100K+ Members, Co-Host of the CX Success Summit

When you’re leading an organization, especially a large one, it is easy to get disconnected from the field. All too often, C-Suite leaders live in an executive bubble that leaves them disconnected from both the employees on the front lines and the customers. While big data provides incredibly powerful insights, it is no substitute for an executive rolling up his or her sleeves and listening to customer calls or spending time on the “sales floor.” Management by walking around is still the best method for broadening the executive lens.

Adam ToporekCustomer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Master Trainer | Rock your socks off presentations that are engaging, dynamic, and immediately actionable!

Because still many brands consider meeting their KPIs equal as delivering great customer experiences. That’s a mistake, though. In fact by doing so they do not take enough into account what’s really essential, i.e. customer’s perception. Let me give you an example: if a brand is able to close a conversation with just 2 replies and with a short average response time, that’s good for brand’s records. Nevertheless, if the customer was given a first unsatisfactory answer, or had to repeat the same information to a second customer service representative to get his/her issue fixed, that’s not a good customer experience for him/her. That’s where the distance between 8% and 80% lies. In a nutshell, organizations should increase their attention towards the ‘customer sentiment journey’ which means not only monitoring it, but also leveraging it within their KPIs mix.

Paolo Fabrizio ✔ Social Customer Service I Author I Trainer I Speaker [ITA ENG SPA]

To sum it up…

I think a common thread here is to do a reality check. Learn what it’s like from both sides of the front line.  Become your own customer and sit in the seat of the front liners for a change. Most of all, listen and feel.  Then you’ll see how it really is.  ~ Abraham

How do I provide the best customer service if I do not have enough human resources? I work in retail.

Retail is the playground for CX since, like the customer, it is always changing and adapting. Start with learning what matters most to your customers, as well as what most irks them. What is the subject of their most frequent requests and their most frequent complaints. Put your scarce resources on the vital few, instead of the trivial many. Along the path of “most crucial” find little simple ways to add distinctive delights. My dry cleaners put a bowl of foil wrapped chocolate coins. When patrons received their change, they also got a chocolate coin.

Chip BellSenior Partner at The Chip Bell Group | Author | Keynote Speaker | Innovative Service | Customer Loyalty

This is a very realistic challenge = the way I have always managed my Retail Teams and Stores is that 1. Certify the individuals in their role and responsibilities, not just train 2. XTrain in another role 3. OnGoing Coaching CTDSR (Catch Them Doing Something Right)

Pat PorrasTrainer & Speaker: I train and educate participants thru engaging & highly interactive workshops – Specializing in Strategic Sales & Service.

It is tough to provide the best customer service without enough human resources. Are there self service opportunities available for the customer? Are the available human resources scheduled appropriately for high traffic periods?

Errol AllenCustomer Service Focused Operations Expert, Consultant, Speaker & Author

First, reimagine the customer experience in your retail environment. Identify the reasons why people are needing help. If it is about problem solving and issue resolution, identify what your processes are that are causing customers to need you. Knock those out. If people need personal attention for engagement and to help them make the sale, those resources should be considered as investment in growth – not a cost.

Jeanne BlissCustomer Service and Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

If you’re not already doing so, consider adding some automation (in the form of Natural Languge call routing and Self-Service) into the delivery channel. Automation, when done right, can dramatically help a company deliver on its goal to provide the best possible customer service, at lower costs than live agents. It is however a double-edged sword and if done poorly, can exacerbate the problem by frustrating customers even more than they might already be.

Lee TuckerCustomer Service and Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

1. Focus on satisfying the customer you are serving: Listen, Respond, Act, Confirm. 2. Develop a way to test and assess the real financial value of great customer service to build a case for more staff. 3. Have two different service styles – one for when you are trading normally, and one for when you are super busy. Oh and of course always be polite, kind and caring!

Natalie Calvert CX Leader & Coach | Board Advisor| Conference Speaker | Author | 200k+ cust serv & sales people, 100+ orgs

Ah – the gazillion dollar question! For retail you need to learn how to be larger than life. You may not be able to get to each customer quickly, but you CAN let customers know that they are in for a treat when you do. Gigantic smile, raise the volume on your voice and ooze helpfulness. If you ever make it to Kanata in Canada, there’s a guy named Mike at the Home Hardware store who is the poster-boy for this. You won’t have to ask which one he is…. You’ll know.

Shaun BeldingCEO The Belding Group, Best-Selling Author, Customer service expert, Acclaimed customer service keynote speaker, LinkedIn group owner “Customer Service Champions” 100K+ Members, Co-Host of the CX Success Summit

Simply have all your existing and future employees read the same book on customer service, one you believe in. Get some great videos on customer service and make watching it a mandatory part of their first day of work. Then have a short list of Never & Always (non negotiable standards) that all employees have to know and be tested on before they can start interacting with customers. i.e. Never point, Always show them, Never say, “no problem.” Always say, “certainly, my pleasure, absolutely”. Never overshare, Always take care of it.

John DiJuliusAn international consultant & best selling author of two books he works with companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PwC, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A & many more.

In the event that you find yourself short-handed one day, I would suggest that you identify the areas where customers normally face problems and you ask your team to pay particular attention to that area so that they can quickly help smooth and solve any problems that their customers have.

Adrian Swinscoe Adrian Swinscoe Customer Engagement, Experience and Service Consultant/Coach | Speaker | Author | Blogger & Forbes contributor

If you are asking the question because your organization won’t invest sufficiently in enough people, then you must demonstrate the results, via customer feedback. Lost sales, poor CSAT, unhappy staff etc. If this is a bricks and mortar store then you must ensure that at minimum you are in a position to greet and acknowledge each customer even if you can’t serve them immediately and to give them some idea of how long they must wait. They may decide not to and this is what you need to track, and where possible put a financial value on the loss.

Gerry Brown Saving the World from Bad Customer Service – Customer Experience Specialist, Speaker on Customer Inspired Thinking

My advice is to have at least one person fully dedicated to customer service. Then you need to share customer service goals with the rest of your staff and make sure that they will also take some ownership of them. E.g. what kind of information may customers ask to customer service which are product / marketing / IT related? How can customer service get them quickly from other staff, and respond promptly to customer’s queries? The key is improving internal communication, regardless the size of your organization. By involving all your staff you let them become more customer oriented day by day, whilst doing business as usual.

Paolo Fabrizio ✔ Social Customer Service I Author I Trainer I Speaker [ITA ENG SPA]

When you are faced with inadequate human resources in retail, it is tempting to look only at resource allocation (scheduling) and operational efficiency (how can we do more with less?). However, one of the most useful ways to approach the challenge is to flip the question. Instead of asking “how can I fit the team to the workload?”, ask “how can I fit the workload to the team?”. While great customer experiences may require more labor on the front end, they tend to require significantly less labor overall. Every time you reduce friction in the customer journey, empower employees to solve issues in real-time, or prevent service issues from occurring or escalating, you are creating happier customers and minimizing the time your team spends resolving issues instead of creating experiences. When facing retail labor shortages, work the problem from both sides, because a frictionless, customer journey that gets it right the first time is one of the best ways to make any customer-facing team more efficient and effective.

Adam ToporekCustomer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Master Trainer | Rock your socks off presentations that are engaging, dynamic, and immediately actionable!

It is not a question of enough resources. It is more a question of the right resources. Kip Tindell of the Container Store talks about wanting one great person instead of three good ones. Other top companies say the same thing. The great employees give you higher productivity, greater customer experience and satisfaction, and lower turnover than good ones. You can pay them more, and still come out ahead. You also need a strong service culture to support the great employees, otherwise it won’t work.

Dr. Moshe DavidowService2Profit-Improving Your Business Performance | Customer Centricity, Service Quality+Internal, Complaint Handling Adjunct Lecturer at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Editor at Journal of Creating Value Lecturer in Marketing and Services

To sum it up…

Whether you have a large or small staff, the key is to choose the right person or persons to be in charge of your CX and keep them in close contact with you so that you can work with them to monitor customer traffic and needs. Make sure everyone from top to bottom is on the same page (ie providing the BEST possible sevice). Keep your employees well-trained and motivatied. View your CX team as your main investment and don’t skimp on showing them how much you appreciate them!

I want to advance myself in studying about customer service which academic qualification should I go for?

Academics can teach you the basics, but experience gives you the advanced. Major in subjects related to human behavior and group dynamics and their application to the world of work (particularly commerce). Psychology, anthropology and sociology are good foundations. Supplement that foundation with courses in business, especially marketing.

Chip BellSenior Partner at The Chip Bell Group | Author | Keynote Speaker | Innovative Service | Customer Loyalty

1. Work in that role.
2. Perform in that role.
3. Educate from professional resources on Customer Service.

Pat PorrasTrainer & Speaker: I train and educate participants thru engaging & highly interactive workshops – Specializing in Strategic Sales & Service.

Not really big on customer service academic qualifications. I believe that real world experience is the best qualifier.

Errol AllenCustomer Service Focused Operations Expert, Consultant, Speaker & Author

First of all congratulations on taking the progressive step of becoming qualified in our profession.

My first thoughts are that it is very valuable, before embarking on the wonderful journey of improving your capabilities, to think about where you are today, where you want to be and what specific aspects and levels of Customer Service you’d like to be qualified in – below are some areas to think about:

ADVISOR – service, complaints, sales, marketing, multi channel or voice, email or web, inbound or outbound TEAM LEADER – leading teams, customer escalation skills operational knowhow, workforce management or support roles such as coaching, analysis, campaign management, sector specialisms. CUSTOMER SERVICE LEADER – customer service strategic leadership & planning, financial / budget service management, outsourcing, customer experience, channel transformation etc.

This will help narrow down your search significantly.

Always feel free to check out some of our programmes at our website cxhighperformance.com you can get further information or contact me directly natalie@cxhighperformance.com Good luck and congratulations this is an important step forward.

Natalie CalvertCX Leader & Coach | Board Advisor| Conference Speaker | Author | 200k+ cust serv & sales people, 100+ orgs

Become a Certified Customer Xperience Executive (CXE) by attending the CXE Academy. The Harvard of Customer Experience. www.cxea.org

John DiJuliusAn international consultant & best selling author of two books he works with companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PwC, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A & many more.

Business. That will give you the skills and knowledge to be a very valuable commodity. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of formal academic qualifications for the skills and behaviours you need to be successful at customer service. Those are best acquired through some of the amazing training that is available through companies and public programs.

Shaun BeldingCX Leader & Coach | Board Advisor| Conference Speaker | Author | 200k+ cust serv & sales people, 100+ orgs

I’m not sure I’d recommend going down the academic study route. I’d suggest considering diverting the time and money that would be invested in an academic qualification into buying practical books written on customer service, joining a book club, getting involved with an online and relevant community like Support Driven and going to conferences like SupConf so that you can meet and learn from peers.

Adrian SwinscoeCustomer Engagement, Experience and Service Consultant/Coach | Speaker | Author | Blogger & Forbes contributor

In the academic world you would b wise to consider a course in human interactions, psychology and any other course that provides you with the tools to make emotional connections with customers as this is key to delivering great customer service and customer experience. There are also CS courses but without the fundamentals of human interaction they would be less valuable.You should also consider the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) designation that is available via a CXPA course.

Gerry BrownSaving the World from Bad Customer Service – Customer Experience Specialist, Speaker on Customer Inspired Thinking

Rather then studying to get a sort of ‘diploma’ my advice is to laser-focus on your specific needs. So first off you’d better ask yourself: what are my customer service goals? What kind of skills do I lack? Are they technical, digital or social related? In a nutshell: assess yourself, find the gap, then fill it. You may achieve that in many ways, for instance investing in specific training or even exchanging skills with peers (you help him/her learn about digital, he/she helps you with training / organizational matters).

Paolo Fabrizio✔ Social Customer Service I Author I Trainer I Speaker [ITA ENG SPA]

Back in 2015, we tried to catalog all the customer service certificate and degree programs in the United States for the Customers That Stick® blog (http://customersthatstick.com/customer-service-certificate-and-degree-programs/). At that time, we were only able to catalog 7 degree programs and 16 certificate programs. While there are certainly more, the small list still indicates how little intersection there is between academia and customer experience at this time. If you cannot find a dedicated CX program, you should ask yourself which area of customer service/experience you want to work in, as many degrees from instructional design to marketing could be relevant. In the end, however, customer service always comes down to how human beings interact, feel, and behave, and accordingly, one of the most powerful approaches would be to combine a business degree with the study of communication, psychology, or behavioral economics.

Adam ToporekCustomer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Master Trainer | Rock your socks off presentations that are engaging, dynamic, and immediately actionable!

Service as a discipline is made up of several other disciplines. You can draw a straight line between Service and Marketing, Human Resources, Operations and Logistics, IT, and Psychology. Most people study marketing or operations and logistics. Whatever you study, you will need to learn about customer centricity, strategy, culture, service design, customer experience, service quality, and other topics. It is not just the qualification or degree that is important, but what courses you actually study. I would recommend studying at a top service institution such as Arizona State, Maryland, or Texas A&M (there are a few more). In addition to the academic qualification, I would read some of the managerial books. Karl Albrecht, John DiJulius, Shep Hyken, Ron Kaufman, and several others can give you a great perspective as well. Some of these have great blogs as well. You should try and get exposed to several different streams of thought, so that you will be able to mix and match your knowledge with your particular service situation. There is no “one size fits all”.

Dr. Moshe DavidowService2Profit-Improving Your Business Performance | Customer Centricity, Service Quality+Internal, Complaint Handling Adjunct Lecturer at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Editor at Journal of Creating Value Lecturer in Marketing and Services