We’ve had a think about how a “good” customer service organisation can become more like one of these “outrageously brilliant” service disruptors, and we reckon it comes down to doing six things differently. Take a look at this Slideshare to see what those six things are.
Why customer service is failing and why it's time to turn it upside-down
Why customer service
is failing and why it’s time
to turn it upside-down.
There’s no nice way to say this:
Customer service, on average,
ranges from disappointing to
The ‘good’ news is that expectations
are really, really low.
When an issue comes up, we all expect
to be thwarted, delayed, frustrated and
ignored on our twisted route to resolution.
The bad news is that expectations
are rising fast.
Some innovators have seized market
share quite visibly on the back of fantastic
customer experiences and stellar service
We’re all starting to expect more.
Chances are, you’re being
outplayed right about now
by one of these disruptors.
Which means you’re going to lose out
to companies that don’t just ‘get’ great
customer service but live it with every
ﬁbre of their corporate body – and
deliver it with outrageous consistency.
Here’s the crux of the problem:
In most businesses, the customer
service agent works for the company.
In great customer companies,
the company works for the customer
And this ‘upside down’ approach
Some are in consumer markets,
some in B2B.
Some sell shoes, others books,
or ﬂights or data centers.
But they all have one thing in common:
They all empower their customer
Great customer companies recognise
that their entire service culture and
every penny invested in customer delight
comes to life (or dies a slow death) in
the hands of the people who touch
customers every day.
So they treat them like the most
important people in the company.
Which is exactly what they are.
Yes, the new customer service heroes
have fantastic service cultures that start
from the very top.
There’s never any doubt in any corner of
the business what the top priority is and
how people should behave every day.
And yes, they hire better, train harder
and monitor more closely.
They only employ people with enormous
empathy, pour their service culture into
every one – and weed out the people
who don’t get it.
But then they do something else:
they really give their customer service
people the power to do their jobs.
Instead of tying their hands with rules,
policies and productivity metrics, they
free them to do what their hearts tell
them; inspire them to do great things;
and reward them when they do.
How do they empower their agents?
We talk about this in a recent blog post,
but it’s worth hitting the key points here.
Customer agents are empowered
and encouraged to delight customers.
Because they can't deliver great service
with handcuﬀs on.
The knowledge of the entire company
is at their ﬁngertips.
Because clueless support agents can’t
To help them ﬁnd and enlist the
very best people in the company
(often with some kind of social
Because no one is too important
to help a customer.
So they can see a rich proﬁle of
each customer and their entire
interaction history before they
even open their mouths.
Because there’s no excuse
for ignorance any more.
By using self-service channels for the
easy, routine stuﬀ, agents have more
time to dig into the trickier cases.
Because customer service agents
are far too important to waste.
Great customer companies tend
to have great customer communities
that weigh in and help each other out.
Because happy customers are the
best and smartest advocates.
That’s what an upside down service
operation looks like.
Led by empowered agents with the
backing of the entire organisation and
armed with the knowledge, tools and
inspiration to create impossibly great
So let’s take stock.
No matter what company or industry
you’re in, you’re at a fork in the road
You can aim for ‘above average’
service for your market.
You can treat customer service people like
low-wage, high-turnover phone-fodder.
And you can try to simulate empathy
while your competitors demonstrate it.
Or you can aim high, empower your
agents, delight your customers and be the
disruptor that eats all the market share.
This tirade was brought to you by
on behalf of customers everywhere.
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