Get Customer Service Support from Leaders

This is an excerpt from the recent Customer Service Playbook for Government. In the guide, we detail six plays to help you transform the way your agency serves its citizen users.

Again and again the experts we spoke with said great customer service cannot happen unless employees at all levels of the organization support it, especially executive leaders.

“No real customer-centered transformation can succeed without active sponsorship from the senior level,” Parrish said. “You know, in a hierarchical organization, you can get some stuff done, but without leadership, it’s just going be bits and pieces. It’s not going be anything really sort of enterprise-level.”

To provide an optimal customer experience, employees organization-wide must understand the motivation and the strategy of good government customer service. Working to gain support from relevant leaders early in the customer service strategy process will help spread the knowledge of the company’s customers and target your customers more effectively.

But it’s one thing to say you’ll have leaders’ support on customer service efforts — it’s another to actually get it. To that end, try these strategies:

Use data. “If you have access to any kind of data, that’s always great,” said Janice Quintana, Director of CharMeck 311 in Charlotte, N.C. “Even when you’re out in the community and you’re hearing data or you have a small call center and there’s data, that’s always a great way to show leaders something empirical that they can see, other than just a feeling.”

Look for data that proves customer service has helped other agencies or that it will run things more efficiently in your organization and present that to officials.

Additionally, most agencies have way more customer data than they realize, Parrish advised. “Even a motley collection of one-off surveys, website and social media analytics, call center logs, and customer e-mails can be mined to uncover pain points. Don’t worry about painting a photo-realistic picture of your customers. Just aim for a few broad brush strokes that can guide basic customer experience improvement.”

 Reveal customers’ unfiltered voice. If you don’t have the data to impress decision-makers’ left brains with intricate multivariate regression analyses, wow their right brains with dramatic quotes and resolutions of major customer problems. All the numbers in the world aren’t as powerful as listening to a call center recording of a crying mother or reading an e-mail from an irate retiree.

 Make the business case. Eighty-six percent of consumers have quit doing business with a company because of bad customer experience. If that doesn’t change leaders’ minds, we’re not sure what will.

To find out more ways to foster better customer service at your agency, be sure to check out The Customer Service Playbook for Government.

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