SHOW ME an organization with great customer service and I’ll show you an organization with better than average customer retention, and whose revenues and margins can be leveraged up.

On the other hand, show me an organization with mediocre-to-poor customer service and I’ll show you an organization with disgruntled sales reps, higher than normal customer attrition, and suffering productivity and bottom line margins.

There are no substitutes for great customer service. It’s the “heartbeat” that every client evaluates from a supplier. From changing customers’ needs and expectations, customer service’s influence is expanded beyond anything most of us ever imagined.

In today’s dynamic market conditions, your customer service reps (CSRs) impact: (a) the productivity and morale of your sales reps, (b) the effectiveness of your plant (and suppliers), and (c) the degree of “preferred vendor” your customers reflect.

A client’s president recently asked, “What should our CSRs be doing that’s new to the position?” Here’s a beginning outline of their changing role that may cause you to reflect on opportunities to improve your entire organization’s productivity.

First, let’s think about calling the position “account manager.” On a day-to-day basis, it’s most likely your CSRs who are managing the account’s interaction with your company, and thus your organization’s productivity.

Here are but a few of the responsibilities we see being implemented that aren’t in most CSR job position descriptions. (And, as you review these items, ask yourself, “Does our internal education and training address any of these issues?”):

1) Capturing and reporting of customer complaints.
It’s the rare organization that takes “customer complaints” seriously—to the point that any complaint is required to be documented and forwarded to a central position for review and followup. What most organizations “know,” but don’t yet deal with, is that most of their customer complaints result from just a few processes and structural flaws. The CSR is the person most often to hear and/or record the “customer’s complaint.”

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