IMPROVING CUSTOMER CONTACT
A common problem for large companies with multiple business units is having to implement by persuasion rather than mandate. Smaller companies can standardize their approaches more quickly and implement them throughout the company.
Standards of Solectron:
Solectron has translated its customer service requirements into standards that include:
- If unexpected problems occur, notify the customer as soon as possi-ble; identify the problem and its impact, and propose an action and scheduling.
- Answer phone calls within four rings; respond to messages from customers within two hours.
- Acknowledge receipt of customers' problems as soon as possible; respond within twenty-four hours with a solution, an action plan, or a date for a plan.
- When a customer calls to complain, listen carefully; do not argue. En-courage the customer to talk, apologize for any inconvenience or mis-understanding, give assurance for satisfaction, ask for suggestions, and take action immediately. Follow up by calling back within four hours.
- Any Solectron person contacted by a customer represents Solectron. Do not blame Solectron's problems on any individual or department within Solectron. Resolve the issue internally and apologize to the customer on the company's behalf.
- All ongoing customer partnerships must have weekly formal exchanges with the customer.
Randall's Food Markets:
- Randall's is very relationship oriented.
- its employees are trained and encouraged to listen to and assist customers. For example, when a customer asks a Randall's stock person where to find an item, the stock per-son will not rattle off an aisle number or point the customer in the general direction.
- The response these employees have been trained to give is, "Let me show you where that is."
- Another example: Employees at the checkout counter have been trained to listen carefully to customers while they work because "They're the ones who seem to hear everything," Onstead says.
- If the customer has any concern or question, the employee calls över a manager to handle it on the spot.