Friends and colleagues in customer service, a minute of your time please. Service Ambassadors, Customer Service Managers, Heads of Service, the list goes on. I just want to get something off my chest once and for all.
If I asked you to describe your role in one word, what would your response be? Think about it for a minute? I am not asking because I assume you don’t know. You certainly do but my qualm is that for most organisations, your actual deliverables have been thwarted and limited to dealing with requests, handling queries and complaints, and in the process, that is how the role is viewed. So curtailed!
We are therefore missing out on the bigger picture that could easily propel our organisations to the next level. The most important stakeholder in any business is the client. Organisations should therefore continually prioritise customer experience over customer service. Ideally speaking, anything to do with customer service should be elevating to more strategic deliverables than everyday operational accoutrements of solving and dealing with queries and complaints. Don’t get me wrong, I am not attempting to disqualify the existence of such roles because someone needs to attend to them. However, there should be more that could be done.
The fundamental difference between customer experience and customer service is that customer experience is aimed at the total journey that a customer takes with a brand, right from initial awareness to post-purchase care. On the other hand, with customer service it is mostly considered an event; somewhat a reactive event to a customer’s needs or requests or a single event when a customer wants to have an issue addressed. But customer experience is the Holy Grail – a different ballgame with focus and essence of making sure mishaps such as service breakdowns do not happen at all or are at least minimised.
Strategies are developed and implemented to improve customer relations, commitment, trust, dedication and overall satisfaction with the brand. In practicality, the customer experience lens views everything from the customer’s perspective. Internal variables that may frustrate the customer’s journey are eliminated while customer-centric behaviours and cultures are promoted in the entire organisational eco-system.
Just dealing with requests, queries, and complaints in this role does not cut it any more. It is a thing of the past because there is more to this role. In as much as services are often delivered by customer service agents through interactions with customers, in the eyes of the customer, frontline officers are brand ambassadors who directly influence the customers’ impression of the service. So let us do more, lead and influence business processes that may affect customers. Let us be at the forefront of developing and defining processes or activities that improve customer satisfaction. Let us break down the walls that prevent organisations from being more to their customers. Let us lead by example in creating an enabling culture of customer centricity.
Whether you are doing it behind the scenes or as a frontline service person, you should be a change agent that contributes significantly to shaping customers’ impressions about the service organisation and in development of subsequent customer relations and brand preferences. Re-write your job description and aim for game changing deliverables.
LinkedIn: Gomolemo Kololo Manake