Customer Service Leaders Must Master Speed
Among the many tools and tactics retailers can use to improve the customer experience, speed is the most overlooked. That's unfortunate because a major factor in creating a positive customer experience is speed. There are three major obstacles to improving the customer experience through speed:
- Employee mind-set: If an employee has four days to do a task, they'll take four days to do the task. In fact, they won't get started until the fourth day! And then they usually won't finish the task because they need help from another employee who called in sick or is otherwise unavailable.
- Company policies: Many companies have policies that slow down tasks that could be completed quickly and easily. They might require two or three sets of eyes and signatures for approval before a task could be completed when one set of eyes is really enough. Eliminate policies and procedures that add to the cost and time of a task. Every time another set of hands touches a document, the company spends money. When you buy in an Apple store, you see speed.
- Disregard for the customer experience: In today's world, consumers want it now. They won't wait in long lines or days for their package to be delivered. If they can't get something quickly, they move on to another retailer.
Companies that understand the need for speed profit greatly. Southwest Airlines’ planes have a 20-minute turnaround when they reach their destination. Because of this speed, it needs fewer planes, which saves it billions of dollars. As a result, Southwest Airlines has been profitable for 40 years while competitors in its industry have posted huge losses.
In the early days of computing, Dell became a major player when it convinced consumers it could create and ship a fully customized computer in just four hours.