NEW DELHI: Excellent customer service is crucial for all organ-isations, as happy customers signal booming business. As it is our
employees who deal with our customers, the logical conclusion is that employees are responsible for delivering high quality service to
them. But can there be other aspects as well which impact the quality of service to our precious customers?
Naresh heads a big store of a well-known retail company. While he is very effective in getting the work done from the people in the store, he
is totally ineffective while dealing with his counterparts in the corporate office. This is because there is absence of inter-departmental coordination and lack of understanding of the problems he is facing. For one issue, he has to talk to 10 different people, who always cite innumerable reasons as to why a particular job cannot be done.
There is a strong con-nection between the corporate office environment and the level of customer service in that organisation. How we treat our people is a yardstick of how they will treat the end customers. If we demonstrate care and respect towards our employees, they too will demonstrate care and respect to customers. If we are rude to them and insensitive to their needs, how can they be responsive
Yet another aspect is in reference to empowerment. We have innumerable organ-isational policies related to creating satisfied customers. However, the people who are responsible for providing excellent service are generally not empowered to take even the smallest of decisions related to the same. So, very often customers get annoyed when a front level person is waiting for his super-visor to come and give him the green signal for doing something which will resolve the customer’s problem. Quick resolution of problems leads to happy customers. But, have we given a clear mandate to the customer interfacing staff with respect to what all they can do to ensure that quick resolution?
Facilitating and enabling is the responsibility of the organisation. The people-related issues have to be distinguished and demarcated from the logistics and process-related issues. If logistics and process issues are not solved, how long can we expect people to solve other issues? Even the best of the people with all good intentions and positive attitude will cease to deliver, if the logistics and process related issues are not resolved.
Inter-departmental coordination at corporate and operations level is a precursor to a coordinated customer experience. Only when the back end is in order can the front end really deliver.
While it is good to focus on the knowledge, skills and attitude of our customer interfacing staff, it is equally important to take stock of the effectiveness of our systems and processes as well as the attitude and effectiveness with which the internal customers are dealt with. Each one of us, irrespective of the function that we work in, has customers. Hence, creating an overall environment of customer sensitivity and customer centricity will certainly help ensure excellence in service to our end customers.
(The author is learning and development consultant and the chief synergist of Kiai Peoplez Solutions at Delhi. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)