Whether your business survives is primarily determined by your ability to continue to serve your most profitable accounts. As such, these critical accounts require dedicated resources and responsive service in order to strengthen your ability to retain them.
Top-tier service is not meant for every customer, even though your company may pride itself on its top service. Providing top-tier service, or what I call “Concierge-level Customer Service” should be reserved for the most profitable customers. It is more than just good service. It’s a tool or system to improve efficiency, satisfaction, and, ultimately, the retention of your very best customers.
In a recent conversation with Randy MacLean of WayPoint Analytics, I discuss the importance of concierge customer service (CCS) and what steps it takes to start a CCS team of your own.
Having a problem viewing the video? Click here to watch: https://vimeo.com/269900276
The name “concierge customer service” may conjure concerns about high costs and difficult implementation. However, a functional and successful concierge customer service team isn’t necessarily costly or difficult to get running, and it truly is an investment in customer satisfaction and retention.
Step One – Systems
The first step in putting a CCS team in place starts with the system itself. When you have the necessary processes and resources in place when your customers reach out to your service team, your team is ready to “wow” them.
A good CCS team takes ownership of their customers’ problems right off the bat. They document the customers’ issues and follow-through on the solutions. Having a team that fulfills that ability will require clear job descriptions detailing what is expected of them and what they are empowered to do.
The CCS telephone number should be unique and given only to those customers who qualify for CCS. They are, after all, special. There should be no auto-attendant queue or directory that they have to navigate through. No customer at this level of service should get a busy signal or be put on hold when they call your company. When they call, the concierge team answers.
This system requires – to start – at least two people fielding calls. If one is busy, the other steps up. Whenever your best customers call that special number, they know a person will answer and that person will be empowered to solve their problem.
Step Two – People
Your CCS team is your primary point of contact for your best customers. It is important that they are professional and patient, and “other-oriented” (or customer-oriented.) They listen to the customers’ issues, document them thoroughly, solve the issue if/when they can, and if they cannot, then they keep the customer up-to-date on their progress.
Finding the right people for this team can be a challenge. Kolbe offers a useful tool to evaluate the strengths of an individual. Are they a quick-starter, an implementer, a fact-finder, or focused on follow-through? This report is a great tool to learn more about your employees and their strengths, but it is not sufficient on its own.
For a good external culture, there must be a good internal culture. This is more than good morale. Internal discipline is reflected as external confidence.
The Bottom Line
Excellent service isn’t the end goal. Remember always that concierge customer service is a tool serving many measurable ends. Concierge customer service has a role in improving internal efficiency and clarity, managing employee stress and responsibilities, and driving customer satisfaction and retention.
Dr. Jeanne Hurlbert, President of Hurlbert Consulting, brings to her role as STAFDA’s endorsed customer service consultancy expertise in sociology and survey research. After spending more than 25 years in academia, she now uses her extensive behavioral science expertise to help companies like yours distinguish yourselves through customer service. What sets her approach to customer service apart is that she begins by helping companies meld research and marketing to find out exactly (a) what their customers want and (b) how well they’re succeeding in giving customers what they want. Jeanne provides STAFDA members with 30 minutes of complimentary consulting per year; please identify yourself as a STAFDA member when you contact her. You can schedule a consult with her by going to www.ConciergeCustomerService.com or you can call her at 888-590-9677. And, if you’d like to complete her complimentary assessment, just go to www.FixYourService.com.