One way firms can provide continuous improvement opportunities, from the CEO down to entry-level positions, is by setting performance standards for customer service — particularly in large companies that handle thousands of interactions per day. The ISO 10002-2014 revised standards raised the bar for international companies seeking to alleviate complaints faster and more efficiently.
The new performance standards explain how a company goes about improving customer service skills and complaint resolution. Previous standards, published in 2004, took into account what a company needed to do to improve. The updated version provides practical advice for taking raw data and turning it into action within all levels of the organization.
For example, ISO 10002-2014 covers definitions, principles and practices to mitigate complaints effectively. If someone calls to say the Internet connection is too slow, the performance standards should outline precisely who gets contacted along the employee chain of command. Can a first-level agent handle the complaint, or does a supervisor need to step in to solve the problem?
Continuous improvement means that as companies use performance standards more often, the better complaint resolution becomes over time. Departments, companies, subsidiaries and divisions can compare notes using the same software and data to discover who does things right and which managers need to get their teams in gear. Small companies can also use the new ISO 10002-2014 release thanks to improved computer technology, cloud computing and data collecting.
The updated standards take into account complaints handled through social media. More than 2 billion users on Facebook and Twitter have the ability to file complaints through official social media channels 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The issue can be visible to other social media users depending on privacy settings. When someone buzzes a user's customer service Twitter feed, the new standards help create protocols to handle this new style of customer interaction.
Performance standards deal with unreasonable customer demands, apologies, redress, data collection and analysis. All of these factors lead to finding a root cause of complaints along with providing practical advice to improve customer retention on every level of the company. ISO 10002-2014 includes detailed specifics about who is ultimately responsible for complaint management in an organization.
When your company uses higher standards to move forward, take note of the principles found in ISO 10002-2014. Identify strengths and weaknesses in order to devote more energy to improvement in the right areas, and prioritize improvement objectives to address the most pressing issues first. Investing in these standards changes your business for the better, because repeat customers maintain your profits during lean times. The entire improvement exercise is a process, and operations are not perfected overnight.
Companies that invest in high-performance standards can be measured against other companies within the same industry. Big data is a big deal, but these new standards mark a better way to ensure your company's customer service thrives for years into the future.
Photo courtesy of Vitor Lima at Flickr.com
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