5 Steps to Becoming a Customer Service Leader
Providing customer service is an age-old practice that has been around since the advent of commerce. Over the years, we’ve seen customer service evolve as technologies and companies have become more advanced. And now, as never before, consumers have also become technologically savvy. With the proliferation of communication devices and the ubiquity of Internet access, people have easy access to companies. The result: customers are more demanding about great service and are better discerning which companies they do business with.
Customer service — great customer service — is more important than ever. It’s also something that every employee in a business must practice. So whether you’re directly involved in your company’s customer support organization or another department that interfaces with customers, you should consistently work towards becoming a customer service leader.
Here are five sure-fire ways to becoming a customer service thought leader and improve customer service for your organization.
1. Embrace The Customer Culture
Great customer-centric companies usually have one fundamental quality in common: customer-centric executives who communicate the focus on customers to the entire organization. Not an executive? Not a problem. You can still spread the customer gospel through leading by example. Get into the habit of asking yourself and your teammates how specific decisions and processes affect the customer experience. Demonstrate poise and patience in every customer communication. Show a sense of urgency regarding customer issues. Highlight and compliment colleagues for their positive interactions with customers.
2. Identify Other Customer Service Leaders
Leaders cannot reside in a bubble. They must be open to new approaches, constantly searching out fresh ideas and exchanging best practices. Seek out other customer service leaders, whether in your company, industry, or another industry altogether. The easiest way to find other customer service pros? Websites like CustomerThink!
3. Be a Great Listener
Many people may say they are great listeners, but the reality is that most people are not true active listeners. Active listening involves waiting for the speaker to finish and then paraphrasing what you heard to confirm accuracy. Not only does active listening help you more quickly resolve a customer’s concern, it also conveys you are being attentive rather than waiting to speak. Additionally, great listeners take action on what they hear; they endeavor to share their listening insights for the benefit of the organization. Document the customer experiences you hear. Organize issues by topic. Highlight frequent grievances or even unexpected use cases that your company didn’t anticipate.
4. Encourage Customer Service Leadership
A true leader does one very important thing: Lead! The more employees who embrace customer service and strive to become customer service leaders, the higher the likelihood your organization will succeed. Empower others to step outside themselves and do the right thing with regard to delivering better service. Give kudos to employees who demonstrate excellent customer service skills. Publicly compliment colleagues who go above and beyond. Mention exceptional performers to your superiors.
5. Be Consistent
Former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The secret of success is consistency of purpose.” Becoming a customer service leader takes implementing the above steps with consistency. It’s not enough to practice active listening or customer empathy some of the time; real success happens through daily practice. So if you’re committed to becoming a customer service leader, discipline yourself to perform customer best practices every day.