Excellence In Customer Service


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Delivering great customer service begins with a leader in your organization who is dedicated to the topic.

Excellence In Customer Service

  1. 1. Excellence in Customer Service Alana Seddon, Presenter Saturday, November 1, 2008 4:15-5:30pm
  2. 2. Excellence in Customer Service <ul><li>How long have you wanted to improve customer service at your organization? Do you need a method that shows your staff concrete facts and helps them think about their own delivery of customer service instead of judgment on staff attitudes and demeanor often resulting in defensive behavior? During this workshop, you will engage in a discussion on improving customer service by creating a healthy, self-reflective atmosphere where your staff can lead themselves (under your guidance) to a systematic solution based on self-reflection, policy changes, analysis of school procedures, information-readiness, physical environment, and all details related to delivering great customer service. Attendees will leave with a packet of materials including forms to bring home for use with staff, information to help you lead this initiative, as well as reading material, suggested literature and data to support you in this process. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Goals <ul><li>To provide a broader understanding of what encompasses customer service </li></ul><ul><li>To discover best practices in delivering great service from colleagues as well as articles, books and other experts </li></ul><ul><li>To layout a plan for leading your organization toward delivering better customer service </li></ul><ul><li>To provide a set of resources, forms, and procedures empowering participants to return home and get started! </li></ul>
  4. 4. Packet Overview <ul><li>Workshop outline </li></ul><ul><li>Hartt Community Division Customer Service progress summary </li></ul><ul><li>Complaint & Compliment Forms (HCD & Zingerman’s) </li></ul><ul><li>Customer Service Success Index (Staff Survey) </li></ul><ul><li>Customer Service Workshop Checklist – leader guide for after the conference </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a plan of action – leader guide </li></ul><ul><li>Resources List </li></ul>
  5. 5. Workshop Checklist <ul><li>Towards the back of your packet </li></ul><ul><li>If you think of ‘to do’ items you’d like to try after the conference, add them to the open lines on the back side of the checklist </li></ul>
  6. 6. What is Customer Service? <ul><li>Good service is about getting all parts of the process right. </li></ul><ul><li>Customer satisfaction occurs when the customer’s impression is favorable that you have done something worthwhile to their benefit. </li></ul><ul><li>Always doing the right things right </li></ul>
  7. 7. Why is Customer Service important? <ul><li>Basic business success – keep your customers coming back! </li></ul><ul><li>Greater Employee Satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Word of Mouth Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a brand for your organization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Excellent instruction; excellent service (be consistent) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The school that cares about my child </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The school that treats its’ customers well </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. What Results can it Yield? <ul><li>Loyal customers </li></ul><ul><li>Greater marketing success through word of mouth promotions </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfied staff who have greater loyalty to the school and therefore greater longevity </li></ul><ul><li>Increased revenues and greater efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Business Success – all around! </li></ul>
  9. 9. People Involved Parents/ Students Faculty Staff Director
  10. 10. Activity <ul><li>The best of times & the worst of times. </li></ul><ul><li>Actions </li></ul><ul><li>Attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>Body Language </li></ul><ul><li>Jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Management </li></ul>
  11. 11. Topics to Consider <ul><li>Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Personnel </li></ul><ul><li>Forms </li></ul><ul><li>Website </li></ul><ul><li>Physical Layout/building </li></ul><ul><li>Hiring – interview questions </li></ul><ul><li>Training – customer service focus </li></ul><ul><li>Employee Handbook – customer service requirement </li></ul><ul><li>Other school materials </li></ul>
  12. 12. How? <ul><li>Select a Leader </li></ul><ul><li>Establish Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Organize & Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate the plan </li></ul><ul><li>Motivate personnel </li></ul><ul><li>Train Staff </li></ul><ul><li>Measure & Analyze results of training </li></ul><ul><li>Revisit often & consistently </li></ul>
  13. 13. Choose a Leader <ul><li>To succeed – you’ll need 1 person in charge </li></ul><ul><li>Review training options </li></ul><ul><li>Plan content appropriate for your staff </li></ul><ul><li>Create a timeline, select methods, guest speakers, software support, lesson planning, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Track progress and evaluate </li></ul><ul><li>Examine all school communications for customer service-oriented text and style </li></ul><ul><li>Oversee all changes to ensure action and success </li></ul>
  14. 14. Engage your staff <ul><li>Think about your staff and their personalities, strengths & weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Consider various approaches and choose one that will yield a prompt commitment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>General surveys as a group lead to less defensiveness and more initial support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin analyzing policies, forms, etc. if staff are slow to engage (direct behavioral adjustment will come later) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Indentify Strengths & Weaknesses <ul><li>Utilize staff to brainstorm strengths & weaknesses of the school regarding customer service delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Have examples or thought-provoking activities ready to generate discussion </li></ul>
  16. 16. Identify common complaints <ul><li>Utilize staff to brainstorm common complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Review parent/student surveys from recent past to uncover collective issues </li></ul><ul><li>Solicit feedback from your board or a focus group of parents/students for further direction as needed </li></ul>
  17. 17. Define common Resolutions <ul><li>List common complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Determine latitude granted to staff to resolve specific complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Determine parameters under which a staff member should refer a complaint to a manager </li></ul><ul><li>Support your staff! </li></ul>
  18. 18. Specifics – Equip your staff <ul><li>First Impressions Matter </li></ul><ul><li>Take responsibility for your own service delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize the impact of your service on your colleagues </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of your own body language </li></ul><ul><li>Keep responses simple and clear </li></ul><ul><li>Handling complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviors to implement </li></ul><ul><li>Diffusing irate customers </li></ul><ul><li>Transferring a call </li></ul><ul><li>Taking a message </li></ul>
  19. 19. Activity <ul><li>Apology vs. Acknowledgement </li></ul><ul><li>Goal – to improve responses to disgruntled customers </li></ul><ul><li>How – determine when to apologize and when to acknowledge frustration; provide examples of appropriate responses. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Dealing with Unhappy Customers <ul><li>Listen for what they want to happen </li></ul><ul><li>Allow a little time for their frustration to burn out </li></ul><ul><li>Visualize them cooling from red to green </li></ul><ul><li>Keep yourself calm (breathe, smile, empathize, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge their frustration </li></ul>
  21. 21. What not to do with unhappy customers <ul><li>Get angry </li></ul><ul><li>Tell them to calm down </li></ul><ul><li>Defend yourself or others </li></ul><ul><li>Interrupt the customer </li></ul><ul><li>Fail to acknowledge their frustration/anger </li></ul>
  22. 22. Defusing their frustration <ul><li>“ I’m sorry for your frustration” or “I apologize for our error.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Please tell me what happened.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I understand why you are frustrated.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I agree with (choose a point).” </li></ul><ul><li>“ We have a few ways we can resolve this. . . . “ </li></ul><ul><li>“ Here is what I propose to do.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Let me look into this for you and get back to you tomorrow (or later today).” </li></ul><ul><li>Follow up and Stay in Communication until their situation is fully resolved!!!! </li></ul>
  23. 23. Establishing the Whole Picture <ul><li>Policies & procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Website </li></ul><ul><li>Staff Training </li></ul><ul><li>Employee Handbook </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewing </li></ul><ul><li>Access to Information </li></ul><ul><li>Office Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Surveys </li></ul>
  24. 24. Review policies & procedures <ul><li>All forms, materials, policies & procedures should be user-friendly, clear, customer-focused and consistent </li></ul><ul><li>Remove any barriers preventing staff from providing consistent & accurate responses </li></ul><ul><li>Review phone greetings, signs, etc. for clarity and accuracy. </li></ul><ul><li>Review policies & procedures to find barriers to delivering great service </li></ul>
  25. 25. Review website text <ul><li>Look for jargon that ‘outsiders’ may not understand – remove it! </li></ul><ul><li>Re-write text orienting visitors to successfully navigate your website </li></ul><ul><li>Consider adding pictures of staff to your website along with contact information and a description of what topics each person can help with. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Revise (or create) a staff training manual <ul><li>Staff training manuals should have significant reference and material regarding customer service expectations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you define excellence? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you expect people to answer the phone? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are your expectations for returning calls & responding to emails </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Revise (or create) an employee handbook <ul><li>Employee handbooks should outline your expectations regarding delivery of customer service. </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear on your expectations and discuss customer service at each performance review </li></ul>
  28. 28. Revise standard interview questions for potential employees <ul><li>Establish a standard set of interview questions for all new hires </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure that perspective on customer service is part of the interview process </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of attitudes core to customer service – those that are innate. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Review staff access to general information <ul><li>Ensure staff members have access to all information required to do a good job </li></ul><ul><li>Review the organization of information and documents to prevent errors that could result in poor service </li></ul>
  30. 30. Review office physical layout <ul><li>How welcoming is your main office? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it clean and organized – consistently? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have inviting signage, furniture, space & layout fostering positive interactions with customers? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the space organized to allow good flow of traffic? </li></ul>
  31. 31. Revise (or create) surveys <ul><li>Surveys should be distributed for all students, parents, visitors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are they satisfied with their current program? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retention – why did they leave? Would they come back? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What can you do better to meet their needs? </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Activity <ul><li>Amateur Architects – split up into partners; you’ll need a pen or pencil & paper </li></ul><ul><li>Goal – to end up with 2 drawings of the same house </li></ul><ul><li>How – person ‘A’ has the sketch of the house and person ‘B’ has a blank piece of paper & pen. Person ‘B’ asks enough questions to accurately draw the house that person ‘A’ is holding. Person ‘A’ is not allowed to give more information than person ‘B’ is asking for. </li></ul>
  33. 33. What has Hartt done? <ul><li>Workshops with Neighborhood Music School in New Haven to generate discussion & openness </li></ul><ul><li>Add complaint resolutions as a weekly item to our staff meeting agendas. </li></ul><ul><li>Re-organized computer files to be more intuitive (receptionist folder) </li></ul><ul><li>Created staff training handbook & manual highlighting customer service </li></ul><ul><li>Revised faculty manual and faculty orientation to include customer service as a topic for discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Revised phone greetings (many times) to better accommodate customers </li></ul><ul><li>Minor renovation of main office to be more inviting, nicer looking & more efficient for staff usage. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Customer Service Survey (see handout) <ul><li>Staff knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Staff engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>User-friendly forms </li></ul><ul><li>Website </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up </li></ul><ul><li>Complaint Management </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Policies/Procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Physical Layout of space </li></ul><ul><li>Information readiness for support staff </li></ul>
  35. 35. Equip your Staff (see handout) <ul><li>Customer service training is much, much more than guiding your staff to ‘be nice’ and smile a lot. </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize that you can help your staff by taking this seriously, engaging yourself as the leader & looking at all aspects of customer service excellence </li></ul>
  36. 36. Creating a Plan of Action <ul><li>Step by Step </li></ul><ul><li>Set up your school so that customer service actions are embedded in daily/weekly activity </li></ul><ul><li>Revisit more intense study every couple of years to keep ideas & tactics fresh and to re-focus your staff </li></ul>
  37. 37. Resources <ul><li>Books </li></ul><ul><li>Websites </li></ul><ul><li>Software </li></ul><ul><li>Information, research & support </li></ul><ul><li>Training seminars </li></ul><ul><li>Survey construction </li></ul>
  38. 38. What is Customer Service? <ul><li>A fully comprehensive atmosphere that will make your school a great place to be for everyone! </li></ul>
  39. 39. Excellence in Customer Service <ul><li>Alana Seddon, presenter </li></ul><ul><li>The Hartt School Community Division </li></ul><ul><li>University of Hartford </li></ul><ul><li>200 Bloomfield Avenue </li></ul><ul><li>West Hartford, CT 06117 </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Phone: 860-768-4718 </li></ul><ul><li>Website: http://www.hcd.hartford.edu </li></ul>