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Michael Casey

Pressing Ahead

By Michael Casey

About Michael

Michael Casey is the founder of Survey Advantage and strategic partner with several printer associations and franchises. By leveraging information from a printer’s estimation and production software, Mike’s business has helped hundreds of printers automate their customer feedback and lead generation process. He may be reached via e-mail or (401) 560-0311 ext. 103. Read printer case studies on the Survey Advantage Website.

Six Customer Service Areas to Check

Conducting a customer service process audit will enable you to do a deep dive into your operation to understand the customer experience firsthand. Here are six items you can quickly check:

1) Check your job status or update process.

Grab any job in process and act like a customer wanting an update. The office personnel should be able to answer any question you ask and the response should be fast and at their fingertips. Give fast, accurate updates.

Watch how the information is pulled together before an answer is given. Are your systems fast? Reliable? How many systems needed to be checked? How many people had to be tracked down to find out? Look for ways to cut steps out and put your people in the driver seat with all the answers quickly.

2) Check your customer database.

Can you get at complete client information quickly within one system? The company should be able to export all active and inactive customers from a single system. That system should be fast and have complete information. Yes, even a client’s e-mail address. The customer information should also include a purchase history.

Do you have complete information for customers; e-mail, phone, address, key notes? Export out jobs from the last month and see how many holes are in the contact records. It is a great audit of your database and is easy to do.

3) Check how you communicate with customers.

Client communications should be documented and easily reviewed and clear. This should be coordinated so you are not blasting an e-mail the same day you survey your customers and send out that open house invitation. Time everything, and have a communication schedule. Also, how communication is currently managed with the customer base. Details of e-mail blasts, mailings, frequency and templates should be easily available and organized.

How do you communicate under different conditions such as
  • when Christmas shutdown is happening,
  • job deliveries are pushed out,
  • you are waiting for customer information to continue,
  • customers request work order status updates, or
  • providing follow-up after jobs are complete?

Audit what is going out the door. Your customers are watching. Also, you probably want them to see your best foot forward on all marketing communications if you want a chance at doing the work for them again.

4) Check how you monitor customer loyalty and satisfaction.

How do you collect, organize and analyze customer feedback? Is it by gut feel? You should be able to review your customer feedback survey—the process, the reporting, the analysis, customer follow up process, and planning that results from this process. There are two types of customer feedback processes.

I) Post-Job Feedback Process: This is a short survey after jobs are completed.

II) Annual Health Check: This type survey should be sent to all customers to assess the previous year, set goals, connect with customers on issues that surface, and roll out plans to the team to improve for next year.

5) Check how professional your customer interaction team is.

Not just the CSR, but anyone who comes in contact with customers—shipping and delivery, prepress, graphic designers, etc. You may want to ask a close friend who happens to be a customer to act as a mystery shopper and analyze and dissect the service experience. Ask them to be conscious of every aspect of the experience. Maybe have a five-point check sheet for evaluating staff that asks:
  • Professional: Were they pleasant, inviting, caring?
  • Knowledgeable: Did they know what they were talking about?
  • Trustworthy: Were they honesty when answering questions?
  • Quality of outcome: Did they answer your question?

6) Check how well the team follows a logical customer service or selling process.

Another check sheet could include watching and analyzing how well employees execute the following service process when interfacing with customers: (Check off if they completed this five-point customer service or selling process.)

__ Engage: How well did they introduce themselves, create a rapport out of the gate, or personalize the online experience?

__ Discovery: How well did they do at asking questions to fully understand the issue before offering a solution or approach?

__ Solution or Building Value: How well did they do in offering the right solution or approach? Did they offer the right solution based on what they learned in the Discover step?

__ Conflict Resolution: How well did they handle problems or any issues that could be considered something that would upset a customer?

__ Gain Commitment: How well did they come to agreement with the customer so both were on the same page and it was clear on next steps?

The more objective your are in doing this audit the better. Many large companies and banks have mystery shoppers, but get creative to do a deep dive—especially if you are a smaller printer. Most people are too close to the day-to-day internal operations to really know how they are perceived outside their four walls.

Try to live in the customer’s shoes. Do an internal audit and compare how your staff does while continuously monitoring the pulse of your customer’s perception. Call your company’s main telephone line during business hours and after hours to see how that experience is. Check your phone tree. Inspect what you expect from your customer service and constantly have a measurement process in place.

Good luck.

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