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Customer Service Systems Start with People

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#1   Posted: 30 Dec 2011 07:32

Companies care very much about the system that supports their customer service. This is typically an automated process or software program that helps companies deliver their customer service experience. For example, CRM software (customer relationship management) can help a company personalize their customer's experience. A well designed website creates a customer friendly experience. My friend, Vala Afshar of Enterasys Networks has amazing technology that allows electronic components to communicate with other electronic components (using social media), all for the benefit of the customer. All of these systems are important and necessary. They all help deliver and upgrade the customer's experience.

That said, all of the great behind-the scenes systems and technology you put in place to drive a better customer service experience really starts with people. After all, it is people that create and support the system.

As I travel throughout the world speaking and consulting with companies about their customer service, I recently had the good fortune to have a meeting at the Four Seasons in Vail, CO. Recognized as an upscale hotel chain, you can only imagine how diligently they focus on details and have many customer service systems in place. You might even consider them to be "secret systems." For example, when I arrived and the bellman took my luggage from the car, he looked at my luggage tag, and greeted me by name. As I was walking to the front desk to check in he used a walkie-talkie to alert the front desk I was on my way. When I walked up to the front desk, the person checking me into my room was able to use my name without asking me for it.

The secret system married common sense (looking at my luggage tag) with technology (the walkie-talkie) and good old fashion front-line customer service (the fine people at the Four Seasons Resort). It took all three to create that amazing customer service experience. And, with that system in place, the main reason it works is communication. The bellman communicated with the front desk personnel.

One of the employees told me a story that is the perfect example of the "system" working at its best.

There was a guest at the hotel working out in the gym. The personal trainer on staff recognized the guest had pulled a muscle in his neck. He suggested a massage. The massage therapist knew about the ailment before he ever met the guest because the trainer told him. The guest returned to his hotel room that night to find a different type of pillow on his bed. The massage therapist had alerted the housekeeping department that the guest had a neck problem and needed a firmer pillow. This is an example of an amazing customer service system at work, and it is all based on communication between people.

So, as you and your team are sitting around a table brainstorming about using technology, software, equipment, etc. to help you and your company deliver a better customer service experience (and by the way you should be doing this on a regular basis), don't lose sight of one of the best strategies and systems you already have: your people. In the end (and in the beginning) they can have the greatest impact on your organization's customer service.

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