Philadelphia sports fans are very excited this week. I know because I am a Philadelphia sports fan. Our beloved baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies, have captured the National League East pennant for the fourth year in a row. There’s a lot of celebrating going on in this city and for good reason. Everyone loves a champion-especially Philadelphia!
Champions also exist in business but we define them differently. Besides being winners, champions are those who defend, advocate, or support a cause, and they come in many different forms in the world of business. We are all familiar with the senior management team who champion our organizational policies, procedures, and budgets to our boards of trustees. Our sales agents champion our products and services to our prospects. Customer service representatives champion our organizations to our customers and clients and managers champion their employees when they have achieved success and performed outside of the norm.
But let me challenge you to consider recognizing and rewarding those who champion the customer. Who, in your organization, is their advocate? With the rise of social media, it has become too easy for customers who have had a perceived negative experience with us, to broadcast this information publicly. In the past, it was only the Better Business Bureau that we had to worry about when it came to protecting our good name. How things have changed. With customers’ ability to destroy the positive public relations we’ve worked hard to build, in the heat of anger with the push of a button, it makes sense to appoint someone who understands the customer and who will act as their advocate when the normal customer service strategies and policies don’t seem to be helping.
Consider taking the following approach:
- Develop a customer service log that lists the hot issues needing attention. Prioritize based on level of customer dissatisfaction.
- Appoint a customer champion to reach out to those dissatisfied, angry, and possibly even hostile customers to attempt resolution.
- Provide training and support to the champion to give them the tools they’ll need to resolve disputes and smooth over customer dis-satisfaction.
- Be sure to monitor the various social networking sites where you have a presence and establish a “Google Alerts” to notify you when your organization has been mentioned on the web.
- Consider a team approach when it comes to customer champion responsibilities. Rotate the responsibility to ensure that your champions don’t experience burn out. (Even baseball teams rotate their pitchers!)
- Coach your managers to be sensitive and aware of customer dissatisfaction and their need to support the customer champions in the organization. Too often, passive aggressive retaliation on the part of the customer has ruined organizations.
- Mystery shop on a regular basis. Ask your customers how well you deliver on all aspects of your operations – from marketing to customer service. Head problems off at the pass!
Does your organization have a customer champion?