Even in today's economy, consumers are willing to spend more in exchange for excellent customer service. In fact, according to the 2011 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, seven in ten Americans are willing to spend an average of 13 percent more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
So what does it take for an organization to deliver? Randy Price, who currently teaches emergency medical dispatchers for Public Safety Solutions, Inc., and co-owns CP Travel, answers these five questions:
CareerBuilder: What role does corporate culture play in providing excellent customer service?
Randy Price: "The environment and corporate culture must truly value customer service; not just give it 'lip service.'"
CB: What must senior leadership do to ensure their company is providing the level of service its customers expect?
RP: "Upper management must acknowledge and celebrate people who provide exceptional customer service."
CB: What role do employees play in delivering excellent service?
RP: "Employees must be empowered to provide good customer service and be given the tools to do the job."
CB: How do you train employees to deliver excellent service?
RP: "The way I like to start customer service training is to have every person in the class give an example of a bad customer service experience and explain why they perceived it as a bad experience. I encourage the class to think about how they felt when their expectations were not met."
CB: How does training tie to customer satisfaction and the overall success of a company?
RP: "A well-trained workforce is the key to being a successful company."
According to the "J.D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions" report, "Brands that provide exceptional customer service tend to consistently employ certain key practices, including: Hiring the right people and empowering them with the best processes, as well as the ability and authority to make judgment calls to resolve issues on behalf of their customers. "
Expectations are indeed important -- and are on the rise. Along with release of its 2012 Customer Service Champions Report, Gina Pingitore, chief research officer at J.D. Power and Associates, noted "Consumer expectations have heightened since the onset of the recession."
Finally, in the executive summary of its "Beyond Satisfaction" report, J.D. Power concludes, "Whether a brand sells products or services, operates retail locations, or facilitates transactions online, a commitment to customer service excellence positions it for success by aligning the brand's priorities with those of their customers. Simply put, achieving high customer satisfaction yields the best business results."
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