Stephen: Ask yourself this question the next time you receive service, did I feel the company really understood what I was trying to achieve or did it feel like ‘I am simply being processed’? The biggest business challenge facing most large organisations is creating an individual customer conversation that is relational and not transactional, that can only happen if Staff work in an environment where they are trained and encouraged to see beyond the immediate request for a product or service. Understanding what the customer is trying to achieve not only creates openings to go further and provide proactive advice, it also reveals opportunities for additional sales while creating a foundation for an ongoing relationship.
Journalist: What are the hardest issues for companies to crack when asking staff to deliver a good customer experience?
Stephen:The hardest thing most companies have problems with is trying to reconcile productivity / efficiency targets with allowing time for customer facing staff to deeply sense, understand and then respond to their customer needs. The reality is this; if you have already devolved management targets for efficiency down to your customer facing staff then the efficiency trap has already been set. Because the targets will always win and your customers will always lose and staff are caught in the cross-fire.
Don’t get me wrong, efficiency should and must be measured but only mangers need to be targeted as this is a resourcing issue which customer facing staff have little or no influence over. Customer facing staff should be targeted on satisfying customers and optimising processes using the simple and effective methods found in lean service.
Journalist: How does lean service help improve the customer experience through staff?
Stephen:Lean Service starts with involving customer facing staff in the discovery of…