15th Jul 2016
Former chief executive of Logica and current chairman of the IG Group Andy Green lives and breathes technology. He recognises how, used well, applying technology can transform an organisation’s ability to deliver excellent customer service. But this has to be a ‘board conversation’, he explains.
“We are still not providing people with anything like the depth of information that we could,” says Green. “Just take a peek over the counter when you are checking in for a flight and you will see that the person behind the counter has access to only a fraction of the information the company knows about you as a regular customer. There is so much information available about customers, yet companies are still struggling with service.”
According to Green, the problem isn’t technology – it’s the way that firms are managed. More specifically, it is down to the chief executive and the culture that they personally instil within their management team – something that’s true regardless of the industry sector or size of organisation.
Here are his tips for ensuring your business is best placed to take advantage of everything that technology can offer.
The CEO has to lead on brand and service. It is all about how seriously you believe in the brand you are trying to create and the services to support it. You need to understand and believe in the importance of the customer because that is the route to sustainable profitability and succeeding in the long run.
It is very important for you, the CEO, to demonstrate your commitment to a customer service culture. Your personal behaviour matters, it matters that you are seen to care, react and primarily support customers.
Create a culture that respects the customer and evolves as customer demand, markets and regulation develop. Just hiring people won’t do it; you have to be systematically willing to change the culture. You have to have coherent brand positioning that sets the customer at the apex. You need brand values, externally and internally, that focus the organisational mind.
You need some method of surveying and charting to make sure clients are satisfied. For instance, when I ran call centres we had a set matrix and we would focus on the speed it took us to answer calls, because we knew people didn’t like to wait. We looked at call answering times – and getting people off the phone fast so that we could answer more calls. Now that is not terribly helpful if the call finishes before you have got the result you want. So you need to think about the details of measurement. It is very, very important. You need operational measurements that will eventually lead to helpful customer insight. You need to ask: ‘Are we measuring the right thing?’
I have sat behind a glass wall and listened to what clients have to say. I have looked at net promoter scores to assess what clients think and been responsive to client outcomes. It matters and you need to demonstrate that from the top.
When I was a CEO I was regularly rung on a Sunday morning, while I was watching the kids play rugby, because the managers wanted me to understand what was happening.
This interview was originally published in Customer Focus, issue 18. Click here to read the full article.