SIP step 1So…you feel like your company’s service quality could be improved. But how do you start…Just tell your staff to do better? One-shot training? Ask customers how you are doing? Hire someone to be in charge of customer service, to take the upset customer calls? Show some motivational books
and posters to your staff and hope for the best?

Before you do anything, make a plan. You don’t want to throw money at the problem before you know the following:

  1. How does our service quality rate today?
  2. How good should it be?
  3. How do we get from #1 to #2?

You need a plan…a SIP: Service Improvement Plan.

Many companies jump into a program but have no clear goal or process to actually get improvement. You’ll find lots of programs to help: mystery shopping, customer satisfaction surveys, customer complaints, training books, online training, employee rewards, social media, mobile surveys, etc. All these are great, but only part of the solution. If you truly want to see results that affect your bottom line, you need to think through the process.

So…how do you start?

First, you need feedback. What are you doing right? And what could be done better? How does your service quality rate today? You need to know your customer FRUSTRATORS…what is it about doing business with your company that can frustrate…and therefore dissatisfy…your customers? Is it employee attitude? Is it a procedure or process? Is it location or hours or parking? Just what is it that customers feel could be done better…what would make them happy?

How do you find out the frustrators at your company??? ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS! You probably know what complaints come in regularly. But did you know 40% of customers who are unhappy (or frustrated) with you will never tell you on their own? So, give them an opportunity to tell you…with a customer satisfaction survey.

It doesn’t have to be fancy but it does have to provide measurable results…ratings and/or line items that you can quantify so you know what/where to improve. And don’t forget to leave room for customers to write in their own words. Sometimes the best feedback comes from customers’ own words, not just answers to canned questions.

And don’t forget front-line employees…they work with customers and your process more closely than anyone every day. They have ideas for how to make things work better to benefit customers…but if you aren’t asking, they won’t tell you. Survey your employees.

How do you know what needs to be improved? Survey customers and employees first. It’s inexpensive, easy and quick if you do it right…once you have that data, you will know what needs work and what works well already. Then you’ll be on the way to customers who are not just satisfied, but FANS of your business. And Fans will promote you to their friends and family!

Follow our blog for more information on step #2 and #3 of a Service Improvement Plan

by Kathy Shook


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