Businesses have goals and the main being keeping customers happy throughout their journey with the company. Since the customer service is all about them, it would make sense that companies align customer service with organizational goals to get a well-rounded and sustainable business. Starting from the top level to the most basic level in the organization – whether discuss top business strategies or simply collecting information from customers – all these discussions involve effective communication. Whatever the activity, the ultimate aim should be delivering the best customer service. For a company to be truly customer focused it is important that they align customer service with organizational goals.
For every customer experience to be truly memorable and happy, all the members of the organization must come together to fulfill the common purpose of customer service. Depending on the individual skills, attitudes and organizational goals these experiences would either be negative or positive. Since organizations and particularly customer service agents cannot have control over the emotions of their customers when they make contact with the company, it is important that the agents make the best of those situations. Equipped with interpersonal skills and an alignment of customer service with organizational goals, agents can actively listen and express their views in the most appropriate manner to keep the customers satisfied. Customer service persons have the ability to make or destroy the image of an organization.
Aligning customer service with organizational goals has far reaching benefits:
– When customer service personnel and other staff in the organization are aware of their individual goals in alignment with those of the organization, they are naturally more engaged and enthusiastic in their work. Engaged agents are able to pass that on in their service to customers and as customers get happier with service levels, they pass on the benefit of their association to the company. This positively impacts the company and its employees. It is a large positive cycle that boosts employee morale and productivity completing the cycle. Increased profits and enhanced company repute makes employees stay with the company and provide more efficient customer service.
– Organizational goals that are clearly visible, achievable and makes its staff accountable for the end result will make employees take onus of their realization. This positivity will be clearly perceivable by customers and they will be able to place more trust and confidence in the company.
– Alignment of customer service with organizational goals allows companies to understand where they are lacking in providing service and be able to fix those gaps. If customers are clearly happy with service, companies can be certain that their strategies are meeting the needs of the customers. The converse is also true. Companies must however, constantly monitor these strategies and take customer feedback in to account and do away with any strategies that worked well earlier but are redundant now. What worked before does not necessarily have to remain successful now. The overall efficiency of the company and customer service will increase since goal alignment will provide a clear direction to everyone in the organization. For customer service representatives in particular it translates to an understanding that only service excellence will keep customers with the company. Focus will remain on customers and their needs practically eliminating customer dissatisfaction and increasing loyalty.
– When customers are happy they ensure that the company and others are aware of it. Just as they do when they are unhappy. Happy customers raise the market share and standing of companies. Successful companies not only are able to keep their customers, their employee attrition also reduces drastically. Who would not want to work with a company that is well-respected and well-known for its best practices and customer service? Also such companies are able to attract better talent since pay will be linked to performance giving the ultimate responsibility for each person’s success in their own hands. Such employees will constantly strive to serve customers with utmost dedication and empathy.
A recent study revealed that companies with a large number of employees who are dissatisfied, are likely to have higher attrition (almost 51%), frequent absenteeism and lowered productivity levels.
Companies must remember however, that in their zeal to align customer service with organizational goals, they must not forget that these goals must serve also the needs of the employees and the company. Short and long term business strategies must be clear, transparent, objective and understood by all. Strategies that are not comprehended or do not have buy-in are most likely to fail even if they are customer focused. Employees must not feel that the company only cares about its customers since that will antagonize the staff leading to poor customer service. Aligning customer service with organizational goals must be a clearly defined process that is permeated throughout the organization. Companies could encourage brainstorming to get ideas as to what would be best for all. Having clear goals and knowing where one’s job fits in to the organization also reduces insecurity and insufficiency in the minds of the staff that is a natural phenomenon of any organizational change. Staff will not feel the need to wrestle for a position within the company and or view their team-mates as competition when each has clearly defined goals that link directly to organizational goals. Each person’s goals must also be aligned to customer service since it must be everyone’s responsibility not just that of the customer service team.
Each team’s manager must have the duty to convey not just what is expected but also how the team is expected to undertake those duties. As an example within the customer service realm, the agents would be told that improving customer satisfaction levels is required of them through providing efficient and speedy resolutions of queries. This provides both the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of completing a task. Each member must have a written set of goals that must be signed by them and their manager to ensure there is no ambiguity in expectations. Both the staff member and manager would be held responsible if there is any deviation from the attainment of the goals. A shift in focus is a speedy way to decline the overall service levels of any organization.
When serving customers it is vital for customer service staff to understand the cross-section of people they are dealing with. Most customers now have state of the art technology in the palm of their hands and are able to access information about anything and everything round the clock if required. Customers therefore expect the same level of convenience from the company they are doing business with. Aligning customer service with organizational goals must also include investing in technology of the highest order to serve the rushed and always on the go customers. It also helps to serve customers across countries and demographics. Constant training, coaching and monitoring of customer service staff is essential for them to be able to use and leverage technology to achieve the goals of the company with respect to its customers. Even small and mid-sized businesses are in alignment with updated technology and customer service representatives must be agile and skilled to serve all kinds of customers from any industry and company size.
Smarter customers, new technology and increased competition in many ways are making companies think beyond what they have done so far. They must rethink of how to engage with customers by introducing creativity and revolution in every aspect. Satiating the hunger for better among the social media thriving customers is becoming an increasingly challenging situation. Customers are actively taking on the role of advisors for their friends and peers when it is related to who they should do business with and who they should avoid. Customer engagement and satisfaction is therefore becoming more crucial with each passing day and companies that have taken the early steps and aligned customer service with organizational goals are more likely to succeed. The approach must be a well-rounded and wholesome one such that they can reach out to customers through any channel and medium and provide the kind of service that customers would like to receive.