From Crisis to Excellence: Lessons for the Whole Support Organization


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This brief, sponsored by GoToAssist, provides support managers and directors with the tools to create excellent support organizations.

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From Crisis to Excellence: Lessons for the Whole Support Organization

  1. 1. From Customer Crisis to Excellent Service: Lessons for the Whole OrganizationWhat is the value of your very worst customer situations? Often they can help your customer contact teamcreate sustained best-of-class service, and can dramatically turn around morale, turnover, and performance.Getting everyone on board with the skills of handling difficult customer situations can create a culture ofexcellence throughout your entire organization.Making this happen requires the buy-in of everyone in your company, but the rewards far exceed the effortsrequired. Here are some steps to implement a "crisis proof" organization that consistently fires on allcylinders for every customer:Create a service culture of excellencePeople hate being told what to do, but they love learning new skills. Make everyone on your team part ofsomething bigger than themselves: benchmark yourself against leading service organizations, and let skillstraining and standards serve as the way to get you there. Real change comes from creating a culture ofcontinuous growth and learning. When you make this part of your culture, it leads to self-sustaining highperformance.Integrate crisis communications skills into your employee onboarding and trainingHow do your employees act on a daily basis? Often, exactly the way you train them, starting from themoment they walk in the door. Organizations that "brand" themselves to new hires as ones that focus onmastering every customer situation are much more fun places to work, and you can transfer that sense ofmastery to each employee as both part of the orientation and onboarding process, and as part of theirregular yearly training and coaching. According to research from, the best organizationsmake it a point to over-train people, and teaching them how to handle their worst situations is an importantpart of developing confidence and mastery.Use these skills to manage internal conflictYears ago, the author was involved in a major consulting project to get everyone in a large organizationcommunicating effectively, to reduce infighting and create a productive environment for their own internalcustomers. How did they accomplish this? By integrating training, coaching, and a performance evaluationrubric that quantified effective versus ineffective communication. Once they implemented this strategy, theynow had a tangible way to intervene with the "talented tyrant" or the "whining perfectionist" as a jobperformance issue.From Customer Crisis to Excellent Service: Lessons for the Whole Organization Page 1
  2. 2. Fostering individual and career growthWhat is in it for your employees to improve their communications and crisis management skills? For onething, a better life! Learning to manage your worst customer situations teaches everyone transferable skillsthat improve their personal and family lives, as well as their performance on the job. For many people, amore tangible "carrot" is career growth -- learning to manage difficult situations imparts leadership skills thatlast a lifetime, and create a culture of "ownership" that lets everyone reach their full potential.Building organization-wide communications skillsHow did companies like Chrysler, JetBlue, and others survive major public relations nightmares? By learningthe mechanics of creating an effective apology - and an effective action plan. Building a sense of "how yourorganization sounds" fosters excellence on a daily basis and serves the organization well in a crisis.Moreover, it helps everyone represent the company well in those daily "moments of truth" that define yourbrand in the eyes of its customers.Never forget that an organizations communications skills also form an important part of your "brand" amongemployees. Understanding how to use language effectively can serve as an antidote to the bland, infuriatingcorporate twaddle that often accompanies internal communications in areas ranging from new policies andprocedures to tough situations like layoffs. The same skills that create good customer service, whendeployed across an entire organization, can form the foundation for a workplace that is liked and trusted byeveryone.Summing it all upLaw enforcement officials universally wish no one would ever commit a crime, and psychotherapists trulywant everyone to have strong mental health. Yet their training and expertise creates an atmosphere ofprofessionalism and excellence in these professions and beyond. In much the same way, you and yourcustomer contact team would love to never have a difficult customer situation again -- and hopefully workhard to make it so. At the same time, making the skills of handling your worst customer situations acenterpiece of your culture and training is often an effective and inexpensive prescription for excellence.From Customer Crisis to Excellent Service: Lessons for the Whole Organization Page 2
  3. 3. About the authorRich Gallagher is a former customer service executive and practicing psychotherapist who heads the Point ofContact Group. He is the author of several books including the #1 customer service bestseller What to Say toa Porcupine. His latest book The Customer Service Survival Kit: What to Say to Defuse Even the WorstCustomer Situations examines how to handle your most difficult customer situations.About provides senior-level service and support professionals with direct access toinformation on customer support, including enterprise strategies, people issues, technology, trends andresearch. This data enables support professionals to benchmark and improve their customer supportoperation. More information can be found at GoToAssist provides easy-to-use cloud-based solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to connectwith customers, employees and machines online. With GoToAssist, IT professionals can deliver fast, secureremote support and monitor IT infrastructures from anywhere. GoToAssist Corporate offers a comprehensivesolution that enables multi-agent support organizations to resolve their customers’ technical issues. Builtspecifically for IT managers, consultants and managed service providers, GoToAssist Remote Support andMonitoring tools accommodate both individual users and teams. The preferred choice in remote support,GoToAssist is recognized as the worldwide market leader by IDC and ranked highest in customer satisfactionaccording to TSIA research.For a free trial of GoToAssist or to learn more, visit Customer Crisis to Excellent Service: Lessons for the Whole Organization Page 3