Part 2: Creating Standards at Your Touch-Points

Did you do your homework? If so, every area of your company has a list of touch-points they own. Now let's talk about what to do with them.

If done properly, the touch-point identification exercise yields a detailed listing of all the interfaces of your customers with anyone in your company. Plants must be included in this analysis, so if you omitted them originally, go back and do the exercise with them too.

Our next challenge is to take the touch-points from mediocre to magical. The first step to accomplishing this is to create "service standards" at the touch-points. For the sake of discussion, let's use a couple of dispatch touch-points referenced in last month's column.

  • Is the phone answered promptly and with a professional greeting?
    • The widely accepted professional phone greeting standard is: "Thank you for calling Perfect Ready-mix. This is Michelle. How may I help you?" If you don't like this standard, create your own and stick with it.
    • The widely accepted service standard for prompt answering is to answer within three rings.
  • Is the CSR courteous, friendly and helpful?
    • Standards here include a helpful/open call wrap-up. Example: "Is there anything else I can help you with today?" Another standard is to ensure that the customer service representative hangs up after the customer hangs up. Other standards can be created around customer friendly phrases. For example, responding, "I would be happy to help" instead of the annoyingly overused phrase "no problem" is a definite upgrade.  

Some producers create standards at touch-points but fail to take the next two critical actions. Educate people on the service standards and then make employees accountable for them. Without training and accountability, we've wasted a lot of time. Let's sum up.
To take your service from mediocre to magical:

  • Get every part of the company involved in an exercise to identify the customer touch-points
  • Create standards of service at the touch-points
  • Provide training on the standards of service
  • Hold everyone accountable for the standards

The Bottom Line: Producers who are serious about customer service understand the importance of inspecting the customer experience and taking action. Most, however, will continue to do what they've always done—nothing.

Joan Fox is a customer experience consultant to the ready-mix industry and a popular conference speaker. Telephone 513-793-9582, or email joan@joanfox.com.