Many of you are probably familiar with Stephen R. Covey’s 7
Habits of Highly Effective People. There have certainly been any number of areas
that have applied the 7 habits such as businesses and organizations.Of course, being a provider of customer service and support software, I will apply them to promote â€œHighly Effective Customer
Since there are 7 habits to cover, I will take each habit and apply it to the customer support environment. I also have some tips and stories from some customers of PhaseWare to support using that habit for the customer support organization; or, really, any organization.
Habit #1: Be Proactive
Mr. Covey added “Principles of Personal Choice” to this habit. For our purposes, I propose a more fitting subtitle: Embrace Change, Harness the Power of New Technologies.
There is an old saw (no, no…not the one from Habit #7, that’s for another post) that the only constant is change. Unfortunately, we humans have a general tendency for inertia. When we are asked to change the way we do something, the first response is often anxiety, anger, fear, and down-right bull-headedness. “Why do we need to change?” is heard in the corridors, at the water cooler, in the break rooms. Let’s face it; most of us have to be dragged kicking and screaming through life’s inevitable transitions. With the pace of technological innovation and advance these days, it’s no wonder many businesses are in a constant state of nervous breakdown.
Departments, organizations, and businesses, being filled with humans, often react the same way to change until the culture of the place changes to be more accepting or even to embracing new technologies that can help them do their jobs better. It is a conscious change that must take place from the top down in order to work.
For today’s customer support organization, being proactive means responding to the growing expectations of customers and the ramped up competition for business. One of the most appealing responses is to realize that the internet is here to stay and the organization proactively seeks web-based solutions to its business needs. These solutions include the different methods of interacting with customers now available to us such as chat, email, and social media, all of which have been integrated into today’s customer service software.
Web based solutions not only reduce expenses for an organization, they increase customer satisfaction by giving the customer his communication method of choice available for customer support.
One of our customers is a large financial services organization. This company has made a concerted push towards web-enabled, multi-channel interactions in its customer service and support center. Self service usage grew at a significant rate and the customer satisfaction scores went up. By monitoring their investment in their customer support initiative as they would any other investment, they found concrete proof of the returns on its investment in multichannel service. This translated into improved operating margins.
The takeaways are:
Set aside time each week to evaluate overall operations rather than spend all your time fighting fires, reacting to what seems urgent.
Be aware of new customer demands and business trends. Evaluate them to determine if they fit into your business operations. Embrace them if they are important to you.
Keep in mind that “industry best practices” may not be the best practices for your business. You are the expert in your own operations. You are capable of determining the best way forward, much more so than outside consultants or thought leaders.
Now, go out and practice being proactive. After awhile, change will seem less alarming and more like something to be embraced.
Tell us how you think Stephen Covey’s first habit can be or has been applied to your organization. How are you becoming more proactive? What initiatives did you undertake that you applied this to?
Share your experience with us.