We have all seen the customer service revolution that has empowered the customer with new ways to dictate the way they choose to communicate with the organisations they are patrons of but some industries have embraced the revolution whilst others have either fought against it or simply struggled to keep pace.
I don’t think anybody would disagree that customer service is no longer simply a department or function and instead it is an engine within an organisation with the potential to either power the business forwards or equally to stall progress if it lacks the right drive and traction.
The recent video statement from Jo Causon, the CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, contains some powerful challenges to organisations with which they can judge themselves as falling into one of two categories ‘monologue’ or ‘dialogue’. Is it fair to say that those organisations still languishing in monologue customer conversations are being overtaken by those who have embarked on a journey of dialogue with their customers?
I think it is fair, and I also think that those who have already recognised that fluid, interactive and customer-centric service will allow them to differentiate from the competition, are already speeding off into the lead. But what does it take to have customer dialogue and how do you bring the customer into the Boardroom?
Firstly let’s look at what it takes. Jo describes those organisations who have what it takes as organisations who ‘’invest in the development of their people, focusing on the new era of Customer Service skills which require a much higher level of emotional intelligence, commercial acumen and technological development’’. It is hard to disagree with the description Jo gives but for me, the most striking and obvious thing about that statement is that it is all encompassing ideology that demands an organisation to take a holistic view of customer service including the people within it, the technology deployed and the management methodologies used to govern and develop the environment.
What is certainly true is those organisations who have already recognised the need for a holistic and ideological view towards customer services will continue to develop their service offering, adopting new channels, technology and gaining plaudits, recognition and more loyal customers along the way. You can also say with confidence that those organisations who are in the customer service fast lane will most certainly also have the customer in the boardroom – they will be prioritising customer needs and ensuring an authentic relationship exists.
So how do you get the customer in the boardroom if they aren’t already? That is a much more difficult challenge to solve, but I would suggest that it can only be done by learning from others and using their customer service engine to propel your organisation to the front of the grid or face life in the pit lane.
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Photo by Niels Linneberg licensed under Creative Commons