Going the extra mile – with a smile!
Let’s assume you are able to convince us at CourageousHR that you are already offering excellent Customer Focus, would you be able to describe how you have achieved such excellence? If you are committed to continuously improving your customer service would you know how you are going to achieve it? Consider the following: Which have you adopted? Which can you improve?
- What does excellent HR customer service look like?
- What does this means for your HR community?
- How do you communicate with your customers to constructively resolve problems?
- How do you take ownership for the customer experience?
- How do you identify the ‘gap’ between the existing level and practices of customer service?
- How do you develop a transition plan bridging that gap?
The most successful HR Functions are those that meet and exceed the expectations of their customers. To accomplish this they continuously listen to them to find out what they want to meet their needs, and the way in which they want them delivered. The challenge is balancing their needs with what HR is able to deliver whilst still retaining its influence and credibility.
The stronger HR’s relationship is with its customers the more able it is to provide a ‘value-adding service’. It can achieve this strength and intimacy through some simple techniques:
Observing how your HR services are being used by your customer.
There is no substitute for watching your customers while they are using your HR products or services in real life. You’ll find out what they like, what they don’t like, and ways that they would improve your product or service.
Developing satisfaction goals for your customers
Many problems that arise in serving customers are the result of clumsy processes. Research has shown that there are five generic influences of process service quality:
- Dependability - Did you do what you said you would do?
- Responsiveness - Was your service provided in a timely manner?
- Authority - Did you help the customer feel confident about the service delivery process?
- Empathy - Did you demonstrate the ability to see things from the customer’s perspective?
- Tangible Evidence - that a service has been provided.
Keep these in mind when problems arise. Chances are the problems will be linked to one or more of these generic influences.
Great Customer Service Techniques
How you act can show that you care about providing exemplary customer service. For example:
- Be honest, because if you lie or mislead the customer, eventually the misrepresentations will catch up with you. If there is a problem, don’t conceal it. Be up front.
- Break or bend the rules when it makes sense and is appropriate. Don’t feel you always have to go by the book. Sometimes the spirit of the rule is what’s more important, since rules are designed to make things work more efficiently. Don’t assume there is a rule if you don’t know - find out if you can.
- Build trust, such as by doing what’s fair, being open, being truthful and communicating frequently. Show confidence. For example, if a customer calls with a last minute emergency request, explain that it may be difficult and expensive to fulfil, but you will do what you can. Then, keep the customer informed about what you are able to accomplish.
- Use your own good judgment to do the right thing.
- Be a good listener. This means listening actively, even aggressively, so you show your customers that you understand. For example, if the customer has a complex message to convey, repeat the main points to show the customer you really understand. Ask clarifying questions.
Delivering great customer service
When all is said and done, customer service and developing excellent customer focus is down to how effectively you build credible relationships. The golden rule is ‘under promise and over deliver’. How you create excellence can be distilled down into three simple rules:
- Keep close to your existing customers
- Anticipate your customers’ evolving needs, translating these into effective people solutions supporting your organisational strategy
- Challenge your existing HR and organisational practices, so to improve ‘customer experience’ and HR deliverables
To find out how CourageousHR can support the development of your HR Function please email [email protected] to arrange a call to discuss your specific development needs.