JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
One of the most impressive things you can do in your job is to strive to continually improve. Alternatively, one of the worst things you can do is to make the same mistakes over and over again. To do this, start by listening to the feedback you get from your customers and actually use it.
1. Put feedback into action
When a customer mentions that you left out an important form in their packet, didn’t respond to them in a timely manner or that they were unable to reach someone when calling, pocket that information for later.
The next time you have a similar interaction, put those corrections into action. As you continue to improve, your customers will take notice and be impressed that you have put that feedback to good use.
2. Anticipate needs and save time
“I’ve actually already started on that” is music to your customer’s ears – it means that instead of waiting for an employee or peer to do something, you’ve already thought of it and taken action. Think proactively versus reactively.
And while it may be impossible to always read your customer’s mind, start by thinking back to your previous interactions.
For example, when a customer completes and turns in their required paperwork do you check it over and verify they have completed everything before they depart? Instead of waiting for the customer to depart and taking notice they need additional documents or corrections again, verify everything is complete while they are present and turn them in with the packet.
This will drastically cut down on re-work or having to continuously repeat a step or process.
3. Bring your customers ideas to the table
If your customer’s have an idea that is going to improve efficiency, help you and your teammates perform your jobs better, or produce a boost for the organization, your boss most likely wants to hear about it. But to help your customers ideas stand out even more – and increase the chance of it actually being executed – present it with a purpose and provide examples on how the ideas can improve the efficiency of your service.
Often customers will casually mention, “We should really improve this process.” But the main reason that process never actually gets fixed is that no one makes concrete suggestions as to “how” it should be done or the idea never gets mentioned.
Take notice of your customer’s feedback. The Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, program is a great source for process improvement minded ideas, suggestions and feedback.
If your customers have an idea, bring it to the table with a plan, you will show your team and boss that you’re prepared, innovative, and dedicated to constant improvement. And as a bonus, those ideas are much more likely to be turned into reality.
4. Go out of your way
We have all heard some pretty bizarre customer service stories like the steakhouse that delivered dinner to a weary traveler as he arrived at the airport after a long flight simply because he had posted a tweet requesting a steak just hours earlier. Or the grocery store that offered to deliver groceries for a snowed-in World War II veteran even though the store did not actually have a delivery service.
And I know what you may be thinking: “I’m not allowed to make extreme gestures like that.”
But no matter your organizations resources or the leeway you’re given to interact with your customers or co-workers, you can still go out of your way to make your interaction a little more memorable. When it is 4:55 p.m. and a customer calls, answer the phone – even though you’d like to just ignore it, pack up and head home.
When a customer makes a slightly strange request, see what you can do to make it happen instead of just replying, “Sorry, I can’t do that. Its policy.” When you show this kind of commitment, everyone will notice.
When you consistently incorporate these things into your daily life at work, you will quickly rise above the ranks. But more than being known as the service provider who is just trying to provide average service, you will be seen as the organization who genuinely wants to see the department, team, and customer succeed. Organizational success is a culture and a team effort.