David Rance had a nice piece on CustomerThink called Great Service Has to Be Institutionalized if It Is to Become the Norm. In this post he identifies decision making as important, which I think is true. Now his focus is on culture (very important) but mine is different. What if you used your systems to institutionalize great service?
Think about it. You could define what you mean by great service, identifying the moments of truth (decisions) where your staff need to decide to treat customers well and specifying the “rules” for many of these interactions. Embedding these decisions into your CRM systems would mean that your staff would automatically make the decision that represented great service. Furthermore, embedding these decisions into your website, IVR system, kiosks and ATMs would mean that your automated channels would also automatically make decisions that deliver great customer service.
Now I am not pretending you can automate your way to great customer service but I do think that failing to do so will handicap any effort to improve customer service and that automating customer service decisions can make a big difference. I wrote a piece a little while ago on decision management and loyalty and another about bad decision making in systems resulting in bad customer service.
Note: This post was prepared earlier for use this week while I am on vacation.