Jul 10, 2020 | Business Finance
The five golden rules in exceptional customer service
Payments are always important for companies. They need to be made accurately and on time. The Middle Office at Western Union Business Solutions is the hub for client services, working with our Relationship Management teams to help ensure that transactions go through smoothly and any questions or issues are resolved as quickly as possible.
Joanne Kennedy, Global Head of Client Services reflects on the five golden rules for customer service.
As the Global Head of a Client Services function, I have learnt a lot over the years about what makes customers happy. I’ve also come across best practices to build high performing Client Services teams. Many regard the five points below to be crucial building blocks that help deliver gold-standard customer service.1. Consistency
Offering a high-quality, on time, repeatable experience, is key to building trust. Customers should know what to expect when they interact with you, and their expectations should be high because every transaction impacts their business performance.
We have industry leading performance standards and it is of paramount importance to us that we meet them. The team is proactive, we don’t ever want our customers to have to chase us for an answer. We want them to feel confident that when they contact us, whether online, by phone or email, they will get a friendly, human response, and get the answers they need, as quickly as possible. Trust is an essential element of a customer relationship, and the way to earn it is by consistently delivering.
To deliver excellent customer service, you need to be an expert at what you do. For us, this means that the Middle Office team must be skilled and knowledgeable in the complexities of making global payments.
We don’t want customers to wait while we find out an answer; rather, we want every member of staff to have the know-how to help find solutions to problems using a combination of initiative and expertise. This is achieved through a combination of training and sharing knowledge (see Sharing below).
It goes without saying that good communication with customers is absolutely key. There is nothing worse than being kept in the dark about something (or feeling that you are). We keep customers informed, whether news is good or bad, or even if we simply don’t know something yet.
Of course, communication goes both ways, which is why we welcome feedback and also ask for it and we run regular surveys. This way, if we are doing anything wrong, we can identify it early and change it. It also means we know what our customers are thinking, and we don’t have to second-guess their opinions of us.
We have a global team, spread across many different countries, but this doesn’t mean we don’t work together. We regularly share best practice, celebrate each other’s successes and use our combined expertise to problem-solve. Within the office we hold daily ‘huddles’ where we come together as a team to share the day’s experiences. During the COVID-19 crisis, with staff working from home we have introduced ‘twice daily’ virtual ‘huddles’ which have been an essential tool to foster team spirit and bring people together across the miles.
I mentioned earlier that we expect our teams to use initiative. This is something very close to my heart – I believe in giving each team member the ability to make decisions and to be able to help customers get the best outcomes, without having to ask for authorisation all the time. This has proven to be extremely successful. The customers get quicker answers and successful resolutions, while the team have a sense of ownership and freedom.
As the teams are largely cross-functional, whoever takes the initial query from a customer is usually able to take it to resolution (see Expertise, above). This really helps with problem-solving and leads to much quicker outcomes all round.
The points above are not just relevant to the world of payments –any customer service function that adopts these would be setting itself on the right track to build long standing relationships with satisfied customers. Those points are all interlinked, and together they underpin everything we do. As we move forwards, in an ever-evolving industry and a business world that has witnessed quite the upheaval, it is possible that this list will evolve over time. Our role in client services is to retain the best parts of our process and adopt new ones to move with the times and keep delivering for our customers.