In 2015, we launched a blog for FOC Customer Service and began with introducing our team. Understanding the people make businesses and the customer experience, a proper introduction seemed the best beginning as we introduce a new blog series.
In 2016, the FOC Customer Service blog will mirror the internal commitment with continuing to improve our unique customer experience and anticipating our customers’ needs. To give you some insight to our plans, this is the first blog in this new series on how we plan to approach these improvements. We are beginning with impressions since everyone knows that impressions matter. We categorized these into Pre-First Impressions, First Impressions and Lasting Impressions.
Pre-First impressions are what we consider the perceptions being made before we ever get a chance to “meet” and make our first impression. A pre-first impression is tricky partly because it is happening before we are aware and because it is harder to get feedback about perceptions than it is about a person-to-person interaction. These include the presentation of our website and the ability to navigate it, research and get the necessary information. I once worked with a company that obsessed over the parking ease and landscaping at their facility to ensure that customers did not have stress or unpleasant experiences before beginning the relationship in their lobby. With the digital world we work in, we expect that the majority of our pre-first impressions come from the on-line experiences.
First impressions matter in all relationships. Our customer’s first impression is usually derived from interaction on the phone or email with us. Professionalism, consistency and timeliness are our first standards for both.
Lasting impressions are the end of the interaction with a customer. We are customer service but remember a well-known criticism in consumer sales that as soon as the sale is over, so is the effort. In our business, timeliness is crucial and we must work quickly to make shipments and meet needs but there is a difference between working quickly and rushing. Once we have made a relationship, we want to invest in it always, not only during the ‘sale’ or ‘transaction’.
Focusing on these three stages of our service relationship , we have broken out the areas in each where we want to be the best. During pre, first and lasting impressions, we want to have the best timeliness, language, and improvement.
Timeliness is one of the large blocks in the foundation at FOC. Getting our products and technical expert team (services) delivered on time can make the difference of many dollars to our customers. Our goal every day we begin at FOC, is to be the solution for our customer’s needs and challenges. We want to be considerate of their time and aware of the impact we provide.
Language can change any situation and with different writing styles and communication experiences, there is room for inconsistencies in the best-run departments of corporations. Having standards and consistency matters. We intend on continually working on the language that is used in our customer interactions both verbal and written communications.
The biggest commitment we can make to any of these areas is the dedication to continuous improvement. A common practice in the business world is the “sundown” standard. We all work longer hours and end our day at different times based on that. The days of nine to five are gone for now and we understand that but we pledge to resolve customer’s needs by ‘sundown’ which means before we end the day regardless of the hour.
That practice builds trust and loyalty. Even if the phone message or email can only communicate where you are at in their process, that communication is appreciated by the non-clairvoyant customer who is otherwise left wondering. I will ask this of my team every day and I will ask myself, as their leader, at the end of the day, “What can I do tomorrow to make this team happier and better.”
For any of our blogs, we welcome our customer, partner and supplier feedback so we work together, in concert.
We have a new email just for any comments, thoughts, needs or suggestions at FOCCSfeedback@focenter.com. Please share with us. If you have already had an experience that we could learn from, we would appreciate you taking the time to share with us. It is great to plan improvements here in our office but your vantage point is the key to our success.
If you would like to get alerts to new blogs as they become available from me, follow me on Twitter @TomWaite_FOC.
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