Building a customer focused culture is not about your contact centre – it is enabling all employees to be exemplary at customer service internally and externally. Good customer service is the ability to transparently, accurately and readily respond to queries whilst also being able to negotiate and mitigate.
There are strong linear links between internal and external customer service – great external customer service cannot be achieved if the organisation does not embed a positive culture.
The main hurdle for many organisations in embedding a customer focused culture is its ‘people’ – particularly in relationship to internal customer service.
Examples of how poor internal customer service can impact the external customer experience, particularly from a local government perspective:
- A team member has identified a low-cost technology which will provide a tangible outcome in enabling customers to report issues 24/7. IT’s response “we don’t have time”, “it’s not on our workplan”, “it’s not a priority for us”.
- A major capital works project has unscheduled night works approaching, which they have only received 48 hours notification from the reliant agency. They seek the help of the Communications team to draft and distribute notification letters to impacted residents, place info on Council’s website and social media. The Comms Team response “we require more notice – nothing we can do in this short timeframe”, “I’ll be on an RDO tomorrow, so you will need to manage this yourself” etc.
- Where possible, Council supports local businesses through procurement, however the Finance Team still have the archaic 28 day terms to pay an invoice and won’t budge, resulting in disgruntled local businesses with impacted cash-flow and poor perception of Council’s care factor.
- A call was transferred via the Contact Centre to another officer and a voice message was left. However, the said officer has failed to respond to the community member, resulting in several complaints to Customer Service staff.
- The winner is “it’s not in my position description”!
How your culture impacts customer perceptions:
- Good Customer Experience: Organised, Knowledgeable, Efficient, Committed
- Bad Customer Experience: Useless, Inept, In-efficient, Non-caring, costing us money!
External Customer service does not start and stop with the contact centre!
In the 2014/2015 National Local Government Customer Service Benchmarking Report, on average participating councils received 96,121 Inbound calls to the main switch/contact centre which over 20% raised a Customer Service Request, resulting in over 20,000 calls being referred to other officers.
However, in many instances within local government, contact is made between a stakeholder (community member, other government officer, supplier etc) directly through email, phone or face-to-face. There is a strong likelihood that stakeholders are basing their customer satisfaction levels on the interaction with employees which do not reside within the ‘Customer Service function’.
Will 2017 be the year your organisation is transformed?
Starting the process for change can appear daunting – a robust strategy will alleviate this!
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- Customer Service Review Stakeholder Engagement Strategy Development
- Stakeholder Engagement Management
- Engagement Hub – the online stakeholder engagement platform
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- View our latest example consultations on external and internal customer service reviews.