Service levels need better managing

Measurements help you manage customer service levels.

Measure what you manage to improve service levels

There is nothing like wearing a well-fitting suit, which has been carefully measured to fit your shape and personality. There is also nothing like a well-fitting customer, which is why you should manage customer service levels as an important aspect of your marketing mix.

Measuring helps to manage customer experience as it is the quickest way to identify improvements which can be made. Identify areas of your customer service which are measurable and contribute to the customer experience. Check to ensure they meet customer expectations.

A comprehensive understanding of the value of managing customer experience in a particular market segment may appear confusing, or difficult. However, it can be worth the effort. A first step is putting together the right team to lead the processes involved.

I like Peter Drucker’s famous quote. “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”. If you have not measured critical parts of your customer relationship, you will have plenty of opportunities to grow.  For example:

  • How many new visitors did your website and social media attract in the last month?
  • What percentage of visitors turned into new paying customers?
  • How many complaints were there in the last month?
  • What was the level of fulfilment of customer requests?
  • Do you know the level of satisfaction with the visitor’s experiences?

Customer experience management is central to growth and sustainability. To manage customer experience start by understanding the problems, frustrations, wants and needs of each market segment, you serve. Take a closer look at how you and your employees are reacting to customer requests.

Understand your points of differentiation with service levels

There are many ways you can measure the success of your customer experience. As a result, you will boost revenue with incremental sales from existing customers and new sales from word-of-mouth.

Lower your costs by reducing customer churn and employee turnover. You will improve customer loyalty and create advocates through valued and memorable customer interactions.

Ways to manage customer service levels

Compile a comprehensive list of components which add customer value

Value components are anything that affects the costs and benefits of your offering ton the customer’s business. These elements may be technical, economic, service, or social in nature and will vary in their tangibility. In generating the list, the team should consider the entire lifecycle of the offering in question. Looking at how the customer acquires and uses a component to how the customer disposes of it when it is no longer needed. The list should capture all the potential effects and degree of impact doing business with you might have on the customer’s business.

Show your passion and creativity in every solution

An active discovery mindset, searching for new answers drives real innovation, helping you to get away from more of the same while building a competitive advantage. You become value seekers, looking for value in every situation and every conversation, always seeking new possibilities.

Demonstrate your commitment to service excellence

When in contact with customers, focus 100% on them, just be there. Do all you can to determine and meet and exceed their expectations. Give them the respect and commitment they deserve, and they will tell others about your excellent work and your business.

Meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother

Then come simplicity and elegance that produces products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. Actual user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want or providing checklist features. Achieving high-quality user experience with your offerings requires a seamless merging of the service levels. Multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical, technical and customer interface design.

Involve your staff and contractors

Share with your team any positive or negative feedback you receive. They can provide a different perspective because of their direct involvement with customers. In my experience, customers will tend to confide in your service personnel who do good work and who they trust. It means staff and contractors are a reliable source of customer information, as long as it is not confidential.

Flexible working environment

Employee mobility should be a consideration. A mobile workforce can be more attentive and provide more personal service. With flexible work schedules, employers experience many benefits.  Happy employees are critical if you want to manage customer experience well. You will also have an increased ability to recruit outstanding employees.

Business websites and social media

Include a feedback section on your website and social media, such as a message board. Be sure to make a clear ‘contact us’ section. Let people know you appreciate all customer feedback, and it will be taken into account and actioned.

Keep good business records

Measure aspects of your business that have numerical values, such as the number of orders, number of complaints about your service levels. The number of hits on your website and social media should be measured as these are affected by your customer service levels and experiences.

Conduct surveys

Customer feedback is another good measure of your customer service levels and experiences. To collect information on customer satisfaction, you could use survey cards where customers rate aspects of your service and their experiences (e.g. on a scale of 1 to 10). You can ask for feedback on specific aspects of your business or leave forms open-ended, like a suggestion box.

Make services more personal

Once you have a thorough understanding of the customer, you can use that knowledge to personalise every interaction. Remember to not only focus on the customer but also on the context in which the customer operates. Your data can help you maintain that focus, particularly if you continue to enrich existing core information.

Personal service can provide the best customer service levels and customer experiences.

By adding context to your customer focus, you can deliver relevant, insightful offers, recommendations, advice and service actions when a customer is most receptive. Today customers have more presence, power and choice than ever before. If you do not provide a personal, relevant, timely and insightful message, you will alienate them immediately. However, if you do, you will drive your brand loyalty.

Don’t treat it as a mystery

Customer experience often seems like something which appears as if by magic and only a chosen few big companies can deliver successfully. The good news is that creating a great customer experience does not require specialised knowledge of magic. Instead, customer experiences spring from concrete, controllable elements, the touch points. These can be numerous and diverse, but they can be identified, recreated, and integrated into the customer experience.

Most of these touch points are directly under the control of your organisation. Investigate how integrated ecosystems of products, software and services open up new possibilities for customer journeys and experiences in ways that more isolated touch points cannot.

Engage a mystery shopper

You could organise a friend or family member to be a mystery shopper or mystery phone caller. Have customers ask specific questions of your staff to test their product knowledge, helpfulness and the time taken to serve them. You may also be able to hire a mystery shopping company. They can design their visits around your specific requirements.

Always comply with the privacy laws

You can collect customer’s details by asking for names, contact details and preferences on the back of any feedback forms or cards. Any customer information you receive, whether you use it or not, must comply with business privacy laws. Laws also cover how you can store and use the information. Any customer experience can be nullified if they think customer’s data and conversations are not respected or secure.

Build a customer value model

Field value assessments and personal interactions are the most commonly used and, I believe, the most accurate method for building customer value models. Field value assessments call for suppliers to gather data about their customers firsthand whenever possible. Conducting direct research is not always an option for building a better value model.

Set up the right metrics to manage the service levels and the customer experiences

In cases where field value assessments are not feasible, it is possible to gain an excellent understanding of value through other methods such as community meetings and focus groups.

Quotable Quotes

“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”. Peter Drucker

“Manage the customer service levels and experiences, not a department, make it everyone’s responsibility”. Peter Sergeant



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