Great customer experiences are often the result of everyone being on the same page and working together to get things done.
If the back-office operates in opposition to the frontline then you are sure to deliver poor customer experiences. When frontline employees would contact the back office because they needed help resolving a customer issue, the back-office didn’t treat the request with a sense of urgency, or they may have talked down to the employee, or they would send them to an online guide. Further complicating matters was duplication in the number of places to call for help, dozens of conflicting help manuals and job aids, and diverse levels of willingness to provide support.
Launch the “We Serve Colleagues” initiative to rally back-office associates to support the frontline in their efforts to serve the customer. To be successful we created a line of sight from the back-office through the frontline directly to the customer, so the back-office sees their connection to delivering extraordinary customer services.
We educated help desk employees that when the frontline called, it was because a customer was sitting directly in front of them and they could not resolve the issue on their own. If they could have, they would have. But they couldn’t, so they called for help.
A culture of service excellence was established by getting the field to:
- Deliver consistent of customer service by sharing success stories
- Limit the use of industry jargon in responding to service requests
- Recognizing and rewarding employees for taking ownership
- Eliminating confusion and conflict by consolidating help desks and support materials
To ensure the relationships became collaborative, we also held town hall meetings with back-office associates to gather their feedback on additional training ideas and resources that could be provided to the frontline so they were able to easily solve small issues and call for help on big complex issues.
Consolidation activities significantly reduced costs. Frontline employees were more empowered to serve the customer and back-office associates were more engaged to tackle the big problems. “Voice of the Customer” surveys reflected higher satisfaction scores. Managers overheard more happy conversations between the frontline and back-office and there was less finger pointing.