Customer Relationship: Building and Nurturing the After-sales Process

My blog entitled "The Six Handicaps in After-Sales Customer Relations" listed the reasons why enterprises do not set up or develop after-sales customer relations. These reasons are also the handicaps in building after-sales customer relationships.

Now if you still need to know why you should even start the effort go read my blog on the "The 20 Customer Service Facts You Should Know" for a quick eye-opener.

Now let's work on finding the keys to build and nurture customer relationships.

Establish a Policy to Build and Nurture Customer Relationship
In organizations, unless you implicitly set the path towards a certain set of behavior you will have to rely on traditions to set the culture of customer service. Since it will take a long long time for government to set the rules on customer service the next best thing is to establish a policy.

If you want to take customer service seriously, you will have to set the policy and take the necessary steps to get what you want done in writing. You just can't walk in on your people and make an announcement that you are now a customer service-oriented organization. Get your people together choose a lead person and empower this person to get the right team to draft the policy.

You must have a good representation from the different business units or key process in your business. This ensures that the team drafting the policy will get inputs from a wider base of stakeholders who will either take the frontline or get involved in the delivery of your customer service program.

Of course, you will also have to define the broad areas of concern to set the direction and theme of your draft. The ideal path is to get a facilitator for this purpose especially if you don't have a strategic plan yet.

Design, Plan and Build a Customer Service Program
Once you have a policy document, you will have to do a roll-out. This is another way of describing the launching of your policy by getting the stakeholders together and announcing that the official copy of your policy document is out. Most organizations simply hand out the document but it has more impact if the owner or chief executive makes the formal announcement before it is actually handed out. If you think it is expensive to be handing out copies to all then just get everyone in one place and give the official copy to the supervisors or department heads in the presence of everyone.

After the roll out is done, the next step is to get each of the business unit or departments to come up with their own customer service program within their units or departments. You can use the process in the policy drafting to build the teams in each of this units or department to come up with the program.

You can use my blog entitled "The Six Dimensions in Customer Service" on building a customer service program as a guide to start the process.

Choose and Appoint a Champion
If you are serious about building relationship with customers through your customer service program you need somebody who will push this program across your enterprise or organization. Not only will this person push the customer service agenda in every corner of your enterprise, this person must also be empowered to tell you things as they are and not sugar-coat the content of your feedback mechanism.

You have to designate a champion and just like the roll out of your policy document, you will have to anoint this champion in front of everyone. By doing so you not only reinforce your resolve but you will actually tell everyone that you installed someone to ensure your program will stay in place.

Decide to Take a Leadership Role
Who you are in the context of your policy and your customer service program will determine if you are serious about putting value to customer service or paying lip service to it.

You can take this as a challenge or as a good excuse not to start your customer service program but the bottom-line is no serious effort will begin unless you take the lead.

You are the embodiment of your policy, your quality metrics, your customer service process, and your enterprise as a whole. Your people must see you in action, your decision must be a reflection of your policy, and your internal process must operationalize this policy and this can only be institutionalized if you have the leadership to make it so.

In my more than 10 years managing customer service programs I had bad, frustrating, exciting and truly memorable days but not a single dull moment. Not one believe me.

Customer Service Programs are day-to-day endeavors. You build it a day at a time.


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