Businesses get audited all the time for safety, financial and regulatory reasons. These audits are an accepted part of the business environment and even though the process can be aggravating, often the findings are beneficial to the company.

I’ve always found it odd that so much attention is given to these concerns with virtually none to an examination of the customer experience. If the purpose of audits is to make us safer, more fiscally healthy and operationally smooth, then why aren’t customer service audits performed to make sure a business will survive?  Because without customers, there is no need for the business at all.

At the very core of business health is the ability to get and keep customers. If producers performed a customer service audit, it could include the following basic requirements to ensure a consistently excellent customer experience.

  1. Does your organization have a written customer service philosophy that is integrated into your organizational language and used as a benchmark to make decisions? If you don’t know what this question means, you don’t have one.
  2. Do you measure customer service?  Without measurement, assumptions rule the day.
  3. Does your company have clearly communicated expectations of service performance or service standards in place? Without service standards, the customer experience varies from customer to customer and day to day.
  4. Is the ability to provide customer service considered as a part of the hiring decision for job candidates? Every position is a customer facing position—either internal or external.
  5. Does your company conduct customer service training at least every three years? Hmm… if not, the employees know it doesn’t matter to your company.
  6. Are your employees empowered to make decisions regarding customer issues and concerns? An unempowered employee cannot actually help the customer.
  7. Has your organization evaluated company processes, procedures and policies to determine ease of doing business from the customer’s perspective? Amazing customer service is a mix of excellent processes executed by remarkable people.
  8. Do you track customer loyalty? Loyal customers can be a producer's most profitable customers.
  9. Is customer service used as a part of your employee performance appraisal? Producers, who hold employees accountable for customer service, deliver better customer service.
  10. Do you track customer complaints? Tracking complaints can reveal patterns which then can be addressed. When complaints are not tracked, the same problems can exist forever.

Until producers list customer service as the number two priority, with safety being number one, the customer experience of the ready-mix customer will continue to slump.

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.