Monday, September 14, 2009

Where is the Leadership for Customer Focus?

The most frequent question I get from clients is how do we get our people to do something differently tomorrow. They are asking about getting better execution from their top leaders, managers and front line teams. The executives have spoken of service excellence at many meetings and yet they still don’t see implementation. Or they see too much variability and not enough accountability. Eventually it always ends up the same, some people get it and others don’t. Here are three thoughts –

Start the hard-wiring process. Do this by creating metrics. Most of you have plenty of numbers but is anyone really “owning” the data. Publish your current status. Tracking and sharing the information can make a difference. A roadmap is needed but you have to start with “where are we” to move forward.

Make someone responsible. Who will be the champion? This goes back to someone owning the customer focus. The champion needs to look at the metrics as well as hiring, training, service standards, performance evaluations, coaching processes and empowerment issues. Nothing will happen until all processes are aligned with the desired customer focus.

Create service standards. As I have said to many audiences, “Without service standards everything is left to chance.” Do people know what is expected?

Exceptional customer service does not happen by just talking about it. What will you do differently tomorrow to create a culture of service?