I was perusing the last week's Knowledge Management and Content Management articles and blogs courtesy of Google Alerts, and saw an interesting article on KM in Retail, but it was primarily a technology article in KM World...and I kept hearing the words of Jerry Ash in my head reminding me what I already know...KM is about those who generate, share and use the knowledge, not about the technology that helps us to do that.
With that in mind, today's post became obvious....eVergence's blog posting entitled, The Top Five New Years Resolutions for Customer Service. We all have complaints about and horror stories related to customer service, a job which in many cases is low paying, off-shored, seldom recognized and never-fully-appreciated (except to the customers who need it in high quality). Customer Service is also a front line position that offers huge opportunities for making a difference - and for generating innovative practices and 'managing' knowledge.
Estaban Kolstoy's suggestions are:
- Resolve to be more patient. This is an obvious one for Customer Service personnel, as well as any staff that deal with customers. Kolstoy suggests empowering Customer Service staff with a little more power to deal with customers who will undoubtedly be feeling the pressures of the current economy.
- Resolve to get in better shape.This is the time to discover your strengths and weaknesses and get them in order, making necessary changes. I would suggest for managers to listen to Customer Service staff for ways to improve processes.
- Resolve to fix broken relationships. It's not possible to fix all relationships, but a) it is a great suggestion to take time to do this...businesses will need to keep as many customers as they can during the tough economy, but just as important is b) learn from your mistakes. How did you harm the relationship in the past and what can be changed moving forward to prevent these types of problems (and how can you fix the feedback loop to catch and fix these issues quicker).
- Resolve to try something new. Kolstoy primarily suggests new technology solutions, such as blogging, twitter, etc., which is not a bad idea, but my preference would not be to go the hi-tech route initially, but instead, resolve to try new processes, new procedures....and pilot them...if there is also a way to use technology to help you do these things, then by all means adopt it...but start with new, fresh ideas from the front line CS staff and expand from there.
- Resolve to listen better. Somewhat obvious...and as Estaban acknowledges, this is an aggregation of the previous 4, but worth mentioning. I'll just extend it to say from Customer to Customer Service Staff, from Customer Service Staff to Customer Service Management on up to senior management - feedback and then action are always good resolutions.
It's good advice to start the year and keep attention on these 5 points. I'm not big on "Top lists" - but this one does not violate my rules about lists - probably because it is a prime number and short enough to be easily remembered.