Performance Management Training Must Mirror an Emphasis on Customer Service Excellence

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Seattle — March 20
Nothing is more common than hearing horror stories about customer service, of consumers being disrespected and devalued by companies and employees alike. Organizations with staff that ignore those complaints do so at their peril, says Impact Achievement Group.

Satisfying customer experiences are now the exception, and in a new white paper, Rick Tate and Dr. Julie White advise organizations to not just pay lip service to exceptional customer service. Instead, they must define a culture built around the idea of “Be the Customer” and provide employees appropriate customer-centered training.

“Many companies never ask the key question: what value they want to deliver to the customer in terms of service,” said Rick Tate, senior managing partner. “It’s not enough to say they’re committed to great customer service. Companies that ask and answer the question of value right get the prize of both repeat business and referral business.”

Companies must remember that quality customer service is defined one interaction at a time. It is the human factor that distinguishes and differentiates the customer experience. Customers judge that performance, and they significantly control the variables of the interaction. Only when employees understand what customers experience, viscerally and emotionally, can they truly be the customer.

“It is one thing to document the time that customers stand in line and then return to an office to write a memo about queuing time,” added Tate. “It is entirely different for employees and management to stand in the line and experience all the variables experienced by the customer.” Experiencing the organization with all the normal and real customer variables is how employees can understand, on an emotional level, the true impact on the customer.

Organizations must support this goal by providing training and development opportunities that create extraordinary customer service. Such training makes relevant performance issues clear to employees and leaves no doubt about what is expected of them when interacting with customers. Their failure to demonstrate an acceptable level of subject knowledge or to make proper choices in customer situations becomes a performance issue that can and must be managed. 

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