A Touch Of Insanity Can Improve Customer Service

02 Jun 2016 | 09.30 am

A Touch Of Insanity Can Improve Customer Service

Making customer service an obsession is the way to go, says DHL Express Ireland's Colin Bauer

02 Jun 2016 | 09.30 am

Delivering customer service excellence in the service industry, how do you ensure that the voice of the customer resonates throughout the organisation? A touch of insanity helps, explains Colin Bauer, Head of Customer Service, DHL Express Ireland

When was the last time a service company truly exceeded your expectations? In the world of logistics, when a customer is paying you to deliver something within a specific time frame, the upside, at first glance, is limited. You can get it there on time, in one piece. But that’s what the customer expects.

At the same time, the potential to disappoint is huge. Delivering something late or not at all is almost guaranteed to create immense dissatisfaction.

Add to this the numerous interactions a customer has in service companies, from the account manager to the operational employee, right through to the billing department. The professionalism of every one of them can have a massive influence on your experience as a customer.

It is here, in particular, that we at DHL Express see huge potential to help service companies deliver additional value beyond what the customer expects.

As a global leader in international delivery, we invest over half a billion euros annually just to maintain our worldwide transport network. This ensures that customers’ packages are shipped in reliable, modern cargo aircraft and vans, and processed carefully and efficiently in state-of-the-art warehouses.

At the same time, these investments will be rendered meaningless if a courier takes a bad day out on a customer, or a credit control agent is rude. For this reason, we have mirrored our investments in infrastructure with significant investments in customer service. They’ve been built around three areas, which we believe are key to delivering service excellence:

1. The Voice of the Customer

Ensuring that the voice of the customer resonates throughout the organisation is essential to great service. Initiatives such as the Net Promoter Approach (NPA), which measures promoters and detractors among your customer base and proactively sources feedback from them, can have a huge impact in identifying areas for improvement.

2. An Insanely Customer-Centric Culture 

Through promoting a culture that is ‘insanely’ customer-centric, delivering outstanding customer service is at the heart of everything we do; we strive to create a positive experience for our customers every time we communicate with them. To achieve this at At DHL, we launched a company-wide Insanely Customer-Centric Culture initiative in 2013.

The main objective is for every function to work ‘as one’, with a particular focus on taking ownership of customer issues. We are already seeing the impact – in 2015 alone, we received over 100 external awards globally in the area of customer service.

3. Transparent Key Performance Indicators

While green scorecards aren’t an iron-cast guarantee of success, they’re still extremely important. When set properly, they help to focus teams on achieving a common objective and assist managers to identify areas for continuous improvement.

At DHL, we monitor the performance of our customer service function across a large number of KPIs, from the time it takes to pick up a phone to the number of tracking enquiries resolved within 24 hours.

A customer service centre that consistently performs at the highest level is certified, through a rigorous internal process, as a centre of excellence. DHL Ireland is a Certified Centre of Excellence since 2011.

The service industry, despite its name, can be one of the hardest in which to consistently deliver great customer service and to exceed customers’ expectations.

However, through focusing relentlessly on the little details that drive quality, listening intently to what your customers are telling you, and making sure that every individual in your business understands the impact they can have on the customer experience, you can deliver value beyond the ‘transaction’ level and ensure long-term success.

 

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