Leading customer service from the top

How can you ensure that your customer service team always delivers great service? Of course you need to train the team and make sure they are empowered to look after the customer, but one of the most striking ways of demonstrating a commitment to great service is when the executive management get involved in the customer service function.

This blog mentions ‘picking up the phone’ as the second most important way to improve your customer service. I’d argue that it is equally important for the management team to show leadership in how to manage customers as it is for the team to receive great training.

Think of some examples. Sir Richard Branson is famous for rolling up his sleeves and engaging with customers of his Virgin brand. The best-known business within the group is probably Virgin Atlantic and there are endless stories of Branson working with the cabin crew to serve drinks when he travels on his own airline.

And the new head of another global organisation – the Catholic Church – has revealed that every day he randomly picks up a letter received at the Vatican and calls the writer. Catholics all over the world have recently been stunned to pick up the phone and hear the caller announce that it’s Pope Francis making a personal call to answer their letter.

This kind of personal executive leadership has a beneficial effect for both customer and business. Obviously the executive team cannot handle every customer enquiry, but when they do, customers talk about it. And customer service employees appreciate seeing the head of their company helping out and learning exactly what it is that customer service teams face at the frontline.

It’s a strategy that cannot fail, but have you ever seen it in action? What’s your best story about seeing a leader working with the customer service or frontline team? Comment on this blog or just tweet me here…!

Hello Richard

Photo by Johnny Vulkan licensed under Creative Commons

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