Measuring Return on Customer Service 3 of 15 – Productivity

Productivity, or an increase in productivity is the third of 15 focus areas that you can use to determine how well your organisation is tracking toward customer service excellence (also known as a return on customer service #RoCS).

Productivity is the focus on the effectiveness of effort, or in other words the output as a result of input. In the context of customer service, there are two ways to look at productivity. Firstly, as the workforce is more satisfied and engaged with their jobs, their input to work increases and as a result the output is more noticeable.

Secondly, productivity comes from effort. Things in business don’t just happen, they require effort. Effort is not just action, it is ‘determined’ action. A good example to demonstrate effort is moving a chair across the floor. You could take ‘action’ by placing one hand on the chair and dragging it to the desired location, or, you could take the effort to pick up the chair with both hands and move it to the desired location.

Why is productivity so important?

Because customers will notice it. As customers we can always see whether staff members are putting in effort or not in their jobs. When effort is put in, the service experience will always be received more positively.

Measuring productivity to determine the return on customer service can be done in terms of tasks completed, but also by measuring the time gained as a result of tasks being done right the first time. In organisations where customer service is not as good as it should be, there is a culture that exceptional service takes more time, and that if something isn’t right it can be left until the department down the line has to deal with it. Managers spend most of their time dealing with escalated issues (which over time become bigger and bigger), and don’t have the time to deal with customer service improvement.

One more way to look at productivity is to audit the typical staff meetings in your organisation. Once I was working with a client and asked them the following question. “What is the busiest time and day for your business?” She responded, “Monday morning at 9.00am – our customers often think to call us over the weekend and do so first thing on Monday morning.” I then asked, “When do you hold your staff meetings?” She replied “Monday morning at 9.00am. It’s always been on a Monday morning since I can remember, a great way to start off the week.”

We can learn a lot from this story. A productive workforce puts customers first, no matter what the cost. This doesn’t mean that staff meetings aren’t important, it just means that the productive organisations will schedule staff meetings for a time that is convenient for the customers, not the team members.

A good way to measure productivity is to ask your team members the following questions:

  • Do you think we are good at doing the things we tell our customers that we do?
  • What organisational obstacles lie in the way of delivering better service to customers?
  • What are some of the things that you could improve on to make things better for customers?

It will be interesting to hear the responses you get from your team. We often ask our customers for feedback, but it is still important that we get an internal picture from our teams.

What do you need to do now?

  • Focus on the topic ‘productivity’ for the next 3 weeks.
  • Investigate how you can get help on one of the biggest obstacles for productivity. How to use email properly.
  • Ask your team the questions above and reflect on their responses. There may be some quick wins out of this.
  • Investigate some ways you can measure productivity. Start by looking at the amount of time each week that Managers spend on dealing with escalated issues. Aim to reduce this by small amounts per day.
  • Meet as a leadership team to discuss the above points and set a review meeting two weeks from your first meeting.
  • Prepare to have ‘productivity’ tracking taking place before the next focus area which will be released the week of 2 April 2018.

Chris Smoje is a customer service speaker, trainer, facilitator and founder of the DIME™ Customer Service approach. Chris works with organisations and their people to develop a common interest and excitement about delivering exceptional customer service results:

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