I think I’m at the point in my life where I deserve to talk to a human being. I went to
school, I run a company, I built good credit and I even vote on a regular basis, but at the end of the day I’m always plagued with customer service that offers me no respect… just like Rodney Dangerfield would say. I think all of us have suffered through the automated customer service that can’t understand anything we say. When I’m asked “how can I help you?” the machine always hears the wrong thing … “no I didn’t say Español,” now I have to navigate through the Spanish menu with my limited Spanish skills and my sky rocketing blood pressure, pressing zero until I get a finger cramp.
At TargetCW we strive to have just the opposite experience. Our service is designed to be REAL: (Acronyms make everything better!)
Good customer service across the entire organization needs to be Reachable. TargetCW customer service employees are reachable through phone, email and website chat. When you call, there isn’t a maze of phone menus, but rather a human being there to answer your call and help you promptly address your needs. Emails are answered within one hour and there is always a person available via chat. We have also extended our hours of operation to serve our client’s needs in other time zones… with real people.
Next, good customer service has to be Effective. If someone is going to help customers, make sure that person is thoroughly trained to actually help. We found that we reduced the number of on-going customer service requests by over 40% by having account managers proactively ask questions of our workers. We strive to think of worker’s questions before they do. For instance, we’ll set them up with benefits before their deadline so it’s one less thing for our workers to think about and one less phone call to make in the future.
A program is lacking if it doesn’t include Accountability. We encourage our workers to interact with us on each email they receive. About 3% of our population interacts with us on a monthly basis through online feedback forms commenting on our customer service levels. That’s amazing to think that our service is so good, that 3% of our population (workers and client contacts) interacts with us every month to tell us how we are doing, calling out specific areas. Each time one of our employees receives a compliment they are rewarded. And each time a negative comment comes in (which does happen on rare occasions,) a different and independent department opens up an investigation to figure out what happened and how it can be fixed to avoid a repeat occurrence. Also, TargetCW has a hands on CEO (me) who cares about everyone’s experience and proactively keeps the pulse of the company. I’m always willing to hop on the phone with any client or worker, big or small.
The last part of good service is Live. You want a customer service program that is alive, passionate and driven. You want everyone in your company to be aware of how important customers service is, from the top to the bottom. You need to work to ensure that a person transferred to the accounting department isn’t going to have a bad experience. The whole company needs to adopt a policy of “taking care of the customer” or as we at TargetCW call it, ….”Old Fashioned Customer Service.”