Blueprinting the service engine helps add value

ONE of the main ways a business can boost its customer service delivery is to blueprint the stages of its customer service process.

This means stripping down each step in the process and working out how it can be improved to exceed the customer’s expectations of the business.

As has been mentioned in earlier articles in this series, exceeding a customer’s expectations is a main goal of good customer service.

However, any improvements to the customer service process need to be based on what the customer, and not the business, wants.

Edith Cowan University school of marketing, tourism and leisure senior lecturer Martin O’Neill said blueprinting was a diagnostic tool for business.

“It helps you to create a blueprint of your service and how it works, and lets you identify customer feedback with service problems,” Dr O’Neill said.

“It helps you identify where your company’s customer service is breaking down. Once you know that you can start taking steps to improve it.”

Marketing Centre managing director Mike Smith said businesses needed to concentrate only on blueprinting the steps in their customer service delivery that added value to the customer.

He said an accountant, for example, may analyse his or her practice’s customer service delivery and find a seven-point customer service delivery model like this:

p welcome customer;

p prepare the brief;

p work out how the client responds to the brief;

p work out how to satisfy the brief;

p communicate that to the client;

p do the work; and

p report to the client on any consequences of the work.

“The accountant may decide he can improve those steps by taking the brief at the client’s premises, or he might give the client the model he uses to calculate the work,” Mr Smith said.

Keystone Management director Steve Simpson said maximising customer satis-faction at each point of contact with a business had been one of the major themes at the recent World Customer Service Conference in Florida.

“You need to put yourself in the customer’s shoes,” he said.

“Satisfaction is no indicator of loyalty. Loyalty is based on care. Customers ask: ‘How much does the company care about me as a person?’

“Customers are desperate to be loyal to a company, so this blueprinting or value-adding approach is invaluable.

“It’s really about how can my business demonstrate care at each point of customer contact.”

The only changes made to a business’s customer service delivery, however, should be those that add value.

Mr Smith said it was easy to change procedures in the customer service delivery that only added to the costs.

p Next week: Building a service culture.

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