Your clients will expect consistent service from your business. They want to know what they are getting for their money and that it will be the same every time they buy from your company. From our other articles, you will have seen that defining a formal business process allows you to reduce errors, and improve the uniformity of delivery.
If you want to deliver a consistent service to your customers then why not make a promise to them?
Making sure that you answer their queries the same working day, or deliver their order within two working days, every time, not just now and then, but every single time, is critical. If this is what you have promised, then you need to deliver.
No second chances
You may get a second chance with long term customers if you make a mistake and you explain your reasons for the lapse in service. You may even get a third or fourth if you have a record of delivery and a brilliant excuse, but keep doing it, and you will lose customers. If it is the first time that they have dealt with you, then you may never hear from them again. If you keep doing this, then you soon won’t have a business.
Clearly define your promises
In the same way that you have set out your business process, concerning what needs to be done, by whom, and when, you should also add in the detail of the promises you have made to your customers.
Service Level Agreement
If you want to make it clear that you stand by your promises, then why not consider a Service Level Agreement (SLA). A contract between yourself and your customer that specifies the level of service expected from your business. SLAs are output-based in that their mission is precisely to establish what your client will get. The requirement must be measurable so that it is clear whether or not you have delivered.
Once you have defined your goals, then you should measure them internally as well as externally. It always makes sense to have an internal goal that it better than the one that you wish to deliver to your external client, this way you have some contingency.
Red, amber, green
Inside SwiftCase we define SLA targets using a Red-Amber-Green traffic light system. If a goal is on-track, then the task will be in the green status. If it is hitting an internal target, then it will change to an amber state. Then if it hits the external target, it will go red.
Automate your SLAs
Tied to these SLA statuses, we can add automated actions to ensure that every effort is made to keep to the target. This action may be an email or text message to a manager, informing them of the delay. It could be an email of apology to the client, to reassure them that you take this matter very seriously and that you are already working on the solution.
What gets measured, gets improved
As well as alerting you of the issue, SwiftCase will also track the tasks that fell out of the SLA guidelines, and you can tie Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to these events. You can see which services, clients or staff members suffer from recurring SLA problems, and take actions to rectify these issues.
Different clients, different promises
You may have made different promises to different people, depending on how demanding your customers may have been, or if your service merely has changed over time. In these cases, it is possible to set different SLAs on a per client or per task basis.
Keeping track of the requirements that you have agreed with your clients is also simple, as you can add announcements to the top of each task page, or include specific help messages throughout your task workflow.
Delighted clients will return and recommend
When you keep your promises to your client on exceptional service, then you will delight your customers through your SLAs. Delighted clients will return and recommend you to others, and your business will grow.
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