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For better or for worse – why good customer service needs equal recognition

In recent blog posts we have focused on the financial value of best practice customer service to the boardroom, and how to analyse it from a managerial perspective.

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We all know when bad service hits these days it’s reported on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook but what about exceptional instances of good service? How are they amplified?

Driving good service is as much about motivation and reward as it is about monitoring instances of poor customer management. After all, why should the workforce be minded to go the extra mile if it goes unrecognised? It is as much about middle management and creating a ‘service environment’ as it is making it a priority at board level. Customer service should work from the top down, as well as the bottom up, with middle management in both directions.

Recent stories that we’ve heard have highlighted that organisations are so surprised at receiving good feedback they don’t know what to do with it.

One story reported that an agent for a leading UK travel operator recently converted a sale with his excellent manner and research, inspiring a note back to his boss to thank her and request he received recognition - it went without response. Surely that company should realise the value of this particular agent and have positively encouraged and welcomed the feedback? Firstly, the customer was converted, but in terms of further value, they would also be likely to talk to other people to convey the positive message.

Secondly, another story we heard recalled that when working on a call centre helpdesk at an energy provider, the agent was advised not to do anything that would prompt exceptional feedback. Why? How can that be the case? Would exceptional service show up the bog standard average?

Companies should aspire to overwhelm in service and encourage feedback when they are performing. Companies like Zappos and Amazon are well cited examples. Social media ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ are one thing from a brand point of view but at an individual level, particularly where the point of service delivery is distributed as in the typical field service organisation, companies still need to have channels and systems in place to accommodate exceptional feedback to staff and to the wider world.

If you are an organisation out there, we’d recommend every agent is incentivised to collate these recommendations, that they are used on the web, and every channel available. If the bad works tenfold against a company, then surely companies should equip themselves to promote the good?

If you have any examples of how to best capture positive feedback, we’d welcome your views.

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