Do you want to know one of the essential signs that a company has a Hero-ClassTM Customer Service culture? Customer documentation.
Yes, I said documentation.
Okay, I can hear you now: Booooorrrring. And you’re right: it is. But it is also crucial.
Documentation is one of the secret ingredients of a customer-centric organization, and it is one that few people talk about.
If I speak with an owner or manager and want to know how serious they are about creating a customer-centric culture, one area I will ask about is their system of customer documentation.
Good documentation makes Hero-Class Customer Service™ possible!
Documentation is a part of customer information, the non-sexy party. Customer intelligence is finding out things like birthdays, competitive experiences, and personal preferences — things you can use to customize and personalize the customer experience as much as possible.
I view documentation as recording information for the sake of future experiences, even when the documentation is not really necessary for the current experience.
The lines are obviously not defined, but hopefully you get the point. Customer documentation is recording what should be recorded not just what has to be recorded.
Documentation is recording the conversation that you had in the hallway about room service, the fact that the customer’s room was not ready upon arrival, and the emails the customer sent before his stay outlining that they needed a quiet floor and quiet neighbors.
In American business, when we think of documentation, it often has a negative connotation. So much documentation is the result of bureaucracy or liability protection that it makes most organizations and people averse to it.
It also makes people feel like documentation is only important when there is a problem. Many people’s attitudes toward documentation is about CYA, not TCC (taking care of the customer).
It can require a shift in mindset to help team members understand how important documentation is to the customer experience.
Here are five reasons customer documentation is essential to a customer-centric culture:
In the spirit of documenting many things, we must be careful not to document everything. Too much documentation can be as detrimental as too little.
The reality is that everyone in business today is confronted with information overload, and the most typical response to this problem is to ignore any information that does not represent a flaming emergency.
For customer information, documenting everything is documenting nothing.
In next Thursday’s post, 7 Keys to Documenting a Customer Interaction, we will discuss how to approach this process. However, this is a highly context-sensitive concept. You have to focus on what will work in your business.
Good documentation is the base upon which Hero-Class Customer Service™ is built. It enables reactive situations to set the stage for proactive WOW’s, and it bolsters a team culture by making sure team members have the tools necessary to address customer concerns as effectively as possible.
Customer documentation is not sexy or inspirational, but your team’s attitude towards it is at the heart of a service culture.
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.