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Improve Customer Service Now

Hi, I am John Tschohl. I’d like to talk about how we can improve customer service in your organization. I think there are a variety of steps that we need to do that absolutely work. Number one, we need to understand this is a strategy. You need to convince top management and leadership in your company that we’re talking strategy. I think the number one reason that most organizations have weak customer service in the world is because we don’t understand how money falls from the sky if we can implement a service strategy. We don’t understand strategic implications of it.

Number two, the hiring of people is very important. Most organizations that are really customer driven are very, very careful about whom they hire. They might hire 1 out of 100, 1 out of 50. Most of us, if the guy’s got a pulse we hire him. What happens at a lot of organizations, we have some dead people on our payroll.

I might have some really good programs on teaching people the art of customer service, but when you have people that don’t love customers, when you have dead people, it’s very, very difficult.

Third thing that we have to do, because you can have the nicest people in the world, but you have to really change some of the policies and systems and procedures you’ve got in place so that we can really deliver this art of customer service. You could have stupid rules, stupid policies and employers love rules, policies and procedures and it just destroys your organization.

Fourth thing that we’ve got to have is empowerment. We need everybody to make fast, empowered decisions on the spot. It better be in favor of the customer.

Now, in reality, it takes almost two miracles for a person to make a decision to spend even $5, because people just know that they’re going to get fired if they make an empowered decision. You’re never going to be a service leader unless you can get everybody in the organization to make fast empowered decisions.

The next thing I think that’s important is that we have to train and develop the entire staff in the art of customer service. We think that, from birth, everybody knows about the skills of customer service, just like a good tennis player, a good soccer player. Come on, this is a skill and it’s an art.

Here’s the problem that we face. Every person you hire, whether they graduated from high school or college, they could go to any high school, any college, for the rest of their life, there’s not any of them that are going to teach your new employee the skills and the art of customer service. If you wanted superior customer service, you need to educate and train your whole staff.

You can’t buy one dumb program, maybe from service quality institute, even, and think that it’s going to change the life. You hire some 22‑year‑old kid, you put them through this program for eight hours and you think that all of a sudden this individual’s going to change his performance and attitude and be perfect for the rest of his life. Never going to happen.

Next thing that we’ve got to do is we have to measure the results. What’s the financial impact? If we’re creating this service customer, we’re building high performing people. Financially, how does money fall into the treasury? We’re looking at improving sales and we’re looking at improving profits. What’s the financial impact?

Don’t talk about people feel good, better, don’t talk about, hey, we’ve improved our customer sale. I want to know financially, what are the numbers? How does this impact the bottom line?

If you want to dance with the CEO, you want to dance with the leadership team. They’re interested in only one thing. Show me where the money is and you can do that if you deliver incredible customer service.

Those are the steps I think you need to use in order to improve customer service in any organization of the world.

I’m John Tschohl. Thank you so very much.

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