There is a 501(c)(3) organization called Toastmasters International, in which the traditional “organization chart” was turned upside down a number of years ago. In this organization the person designated as a “leader” actually is placed lower on the chart than the individual member who is learning how to be a leader. The point being made is that leadership is about service. Service is what members want.

It’s the same in business. Service is what customers want. And they want it in a timely way. As part of corporate relationships, it’s helpful to record, acknowledge and review the service that you and others provide to your customers. Leadership within your company includes sharing the service successes you have had with customers as well as the total disasters. (Yes, there is always the client you inherited from someone else who also did not want that client. )

There is an opportunity for corporate change when a company decides to record, acknowledge and review service. It takes well-articulated, written, spoken and total ongoing commitment from management that records of service will be only used in a constructive, problem-solving manner. I once had a manager who used a trouble-ticket module as a way to punish employees who did not “measure up” to his ineffectively-communicated expectations. When it was known that that practice was in place, records of customer service became less than candid.

Features of a service component of your customer relationship management solution can include tracking who took the call, who is assigned to work on the customer’s request, whether the request needs to be escalated to a different level, what the resolution of the call is (even if the resolution turns out to be “overcome by events” and an eventual analysis of the service call.

One benefit to your organization of doing business this way are that now you can begin to make specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic operational decisions regarding allocation of corporate resources. Another is that you may discover and reward the people-handling skills of someone who has not necessarily appeared on the corporate stage as a star—but who really is. That’s the one who is keeping customers coming back again…and again…and again.
This content is the first in a series of six topics on benefits and features of a great customer relationship management solution. The others will include opportunities, projects, campaigns, leads and corporate knowledge base.