The skills of good Customer Service Teams are the subject of many articles, including several written by myself. This is because their worth to any organisation is sometimes more difficult to measure.
Typical Performance Indicators such as Sales, Call Times or the Revenue Opportunities identified work for many departments. However, they are limited in demonstrating the value of the back-office staff who provide a customer service function.
While leaders will monitor and manage their teams to ensure they provide benefit both to their employer and the customer themselves, it is sometimes difficult for organisations to see the real worth of Customer Service staff. Their function is not measured in pounds or pence, for sometimes months, or even years of employment.
How to get a true reflection of effectiveness
Review sites such as Trustpilot are a useful tool in assessing the quality of a company. They provide a strong indication as to how good, or bad, the service and support is of a particular department. It is important to consider, however, that not every bad review is accurate, fair, or even made by an existing customer.
Similarly, and from an entirely customer service perspective, the popularity of individual staff members amongst customers and colleagues is not always a true reflection of how effective they are for their employers.
Though these may seem strange comments to make, consider the very nature of a customer service role. While being there to support existing or potential customers, this assistance is not always wanted, expected, or taken, and advice/guidance, regardless of how good it is, is not always well received.
Advisors additionally have to warn clients of potential issues, occasionally deliver bad news, whilst remaining firm in managing customer expectations, including being able to say no to unreasonable or impossible requests. While this may not make the staff member popular, it does not make them bad at their job.
So how do employers measure their success?
For Northern Gas and Power’s Customer Services team, a combination of factors is considered when reviewing the value of our department. Job success, the ability to self-manage and prioritise heavy workloads, along with positive client reviews do give an insight into the strength of our staff. But it is also supplemented with a thorough understanding of their individual strengths.
From a manager’s perspective, and while ensuring weaknesses are also developed, the best-qualified staff are put forward for the tasks which match their skills to ensure a premium service for the customer.
When teams are utilised in this way, with a variety of strengths, they become self-sufficient. They fill each other’s development gaps through coaching, mentoring and team training to become even more skilled and specialised.
Conversely, this ensures they provide an even better service to the company, and, of course, to the customer.
The exceptionally high standard of the work we complete for our clients means that they come to rely on our service. It means they trust us to deal with their matters effectively, efficiently and with honesty and integrity.
These same customers come back to us year after year. This is how we measure the value of good customer service.
By David Cole
David is a former senior Police Officer who retired from the service in 2020 and has now worked with Northern Gas & Power for just over a year as the Customer Services and Key Account Team Manager.
With a wealth of investigative and strategic experience David has managed teams both large and small in a variety of roles to meet the needs of the public and now the private sector. As a relative newcomer to the Energy Industry David has brought his considerable knowhow and enthusiasm into the role and developed/professionalised the team into the efficient model it is today.