By Mark Edelman
Vice President, Digital Member Services
Stanford Federal Credit Union
This is not a math puzzle, but rather the way we need to approach our business if we are to be successful. Simply stated; you must consider your employees at least as much as you consider your customers. To remain relevant, we must respond to our customers’ needs in a manner that the customers perceive as timely and valuable. The market demands you develop a premier customer support system with quality employees and you’ll grow your customer base. Competition is competing on product, price and delivery. The companies beating the competition are doing it with service.
When we respond to our customers’ needs the way the customers want, typically with quick resolution to their requests, we gain promoters. Promoters will share online and offline – family, friends, virtual friends, co-workers, classmates, and your list of future customers go on! To make this happen, we must start by creating a working environment where our employees can succeed and thrive.
Here are some keys to balancing the equation:
- Have a clear strategy and clearly communicate that strategy to your employees and your customers.
- Customer support systems for employees and customer facing systems must be intuitive, easy to use, and provide pertinent data.
- Remember your customers and their preferences. Provide this data to your employees at the beginning of each interaction.
- Always look for ways to hear your customer’s voice. Make sure you hear what your employees have to say about the customer experience.
- Customers expect knowledgeable employees who have the authority to make decisions.
- Train your employees with the tools to make good decisions. Follow-up the training by giving the employees the authority for those decisions.
- Have one service level for all customer interactions; customers do not want to wait and employees will take the brunt of the customers’ frustration if the customers’ wait is too long.
Mr. Edelman has over 20 years of contact center and operations management experience in the financial services sector. He has a passion for customer service and has a stellar track record with start-up operations and turning around poor performing service operations. Recently, he has been a featured speaker at numerous call center conferences and has handled consulting assignments to assess and improve credit union contact centers. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from California Pacific University.