Do You Let Efficiency Get in the Way of Great Service?

Multi-ethnic business people sitting holding clocks over faces.Which is more important?  Completing a customer transaction in’ x’ number of minutes or having the customer walk away feeling valued, respected and cared for?

Too often, bowing down to the gods of efficiency and effective time management get in the way of building and creating relationships with the people we live with, work with or serve.

When service providers are expected to process ‘x’ amounts of call or customer interactions per hour, will they take the extra step of anticipating customer needs or responding fully to questions?  When the focus is on process and not service, customers feel like a number (because they are!), not a person.

Yes, more transactions can be processed when we don’t take the time to answer questions our customers may have before they ask them. Yes, transactions take longer when we stop, put down the papers or lift our head up from the computer, face our customer and give them our full attention.  It may mean we have to answer a few more questions or be asked to provide additional detail.

There are ways to become more efficient. Cut down on red tape, policies and procedures that slow tasks and activities down.  Bundle activities by task or location.  Know the answers to the questions most often asked so team members don’t need to search for the answer. When a search is required, note the answer down and share it with team members.  Ensure your team members have received the training they need, which may not necessarily be the training you are providing.

Efficiency is important. Effective time management is important. But when they become more important than the customer, you may end up having more time on your hands than you’d like when the customers stop coming.

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