#1 Posted: 30 May 2012 10:56
Have you created a "customer board of directors"? I addressed the concept in my last article. A related strategy is creating a "customer service board of directors." Adding the word "service" changes the makeup of the board somewhat, although both strategies come down to improving customer service. The board discussed in the last article was aimed at bringing together a community of customers and seeking their feedback on your product, service and performance. The customer service board consists of people from inside the company as well as from the outside, and the outside participants are not necessarily your customers.
Company representatives to be included on the board will include management and leaders who focus on customer service. It would be a smart move to also seek input from some front-line employees who deal with customers on a day-to-day basis.
Along with the employee members, and although the focus of this board is internal, some outside feedback is also needed. For the customer service board, consider someone from another company that is recognized for its customer service, no matter the type or size the company. You could also seek expert guidance from customer service consultants or experts, even if you have to compensate them for their time. The benefits of expert advice are obvious to the board as well as to the overall company and its future.
As you organize the board, make note of the starting conditions in the company so you can measure the progress that is generated by the board's actions and suggestions. The ultimate result of the board should be more than just a creative spark to your customer service (although that could be a worthwhile side effect). But, you are seeking something more, a deeper change or improvement within the company. Try to set benchmarks and measure your progress.
The job of this board is to act as a think tank — to brainstorm, discuss, formulate ideas and debate their merit. It should be a customer service-savvy group of people who can recognize and discuss problems and opportunities. The board is not tasked with implementing ideas, but simply with creating and presenting ideas.
Without the burden of implementation, the board should feel free to thoroughly consider all ideas and strategies. There should be an associated task force to implement the group's ideas and "get the job done." The board should, of course, follow up on the results of its suggestions — it will receive a sense of fulfillment and impetus to continue by seeing positive changes being generated in the company. Each meeting should include an update of which ideas are working — or not working.
And even though we noted that the customer service board of directors is not made up of customers, it is a great way to keep an organization focused on the customer.