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It’s Not About The Box!

It’s Not About the Box!

Among my terrific clients, there remains one consistent factor: The good companies want to get better. During the last 15 years, I have only been hired by the best companies.

Companies that suck don’t hire me.

The good companies want to get better.

Collis-Flipchart3

Employee flip chart remarks convey much

Another factor among the best companies is that they’re less preoccupied with the brands they install.  Instead, they focus on something much more important. “It’s not about the box,” a client said.  “It’s about the customer experience.”

Companies that pay more attention to the experience dissect behavioral nuances and then improve every customer touch point.  And I mean EVERY detail.

The best employees know the difference between mediocre and terrific service and during seminars, I am surprised with their flip chart remarks. After hundreds of seminars, the surprises just keep coming. And that’s what I love about my clients.

Do brands matter? Absolutely!

But the best brands do not make up for poor communication, sloppy attire and unenthusiastic employees.  A lack of congruence between the brand and the behavior is a psychological disconnect which results in customer skepticism.

[blockquote type=’full’] It’s not about the box, a client said.  It’s about the customer experience. [/blockquote]

And a skeptical customer requires enormous effort from your service team. These customers escalate their concerns to management and this shifts a manager’s role from proactive to reactive.  Overall, this results in a downward spiral of missed opportunities and ineffective work.

Below are four key areas in which companies can raise their service level:

1. Communicate well with employees to clearly convey purpose and goals. Numerous changes in engineering designs, compatibility, and manufacturing schedules must be quickly circulated to those who serve customers. Facts matter. This helps to minimize the half-truth phenomena in which someone always gets the wrong half.


2. Strictly enforce a rule of fast follow up with customers, especially regarding scheduling and parts delivery, so that customers know what you are doing for them. Maintaining persistent customer follow-up is a proactive success strategy. If customers are uncertain as to what is going on, they will phone you and ask. When this happens, your employees can become reactive and defensive, thus minimizing their ability to control the event. There are two main positions regarding follow-up: offense and defense. When customers phone you, they are on the offense, but when you phone the customer, you’re on offense.


3. Maximize the latent technological and human assets in your customer service department. This will enable employees to serve customers in a fast, accurate, and efficient manner. It is inefficient to use only a small percentage of your company’s desktop or tablet applications. Be sure to invest time in advanced training to maximize employee efficiency and productivity. The cost of training is always less than the cost of ignorance. Make the investment to educate employees.


4. Enable and empower employees to quickly resolve difficult situations with a stable problem-solving infrastructure. The best managers understand the two primary reasons why customers call for service: customers either have a problem or a question. Therefore, calculating a customer-centric attitude among employees will help keep the focus on where it belongs. Front line service employees should be a part of weekly role-playing sessions, during which common questions and problems can be rehearsed and perfected.


These above four principles, while not exhaustive, are key management behaviors that impact the customer’s experience.  Achieving a world class service level does not have to be complicated nor expensive. In fact, it’s much more affordable than you think!

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Steve Coscia

The road from professional musician to thirty-year customer service veteran to best-selling author and speaker is not a typical career path, but Steve Coscia may have started a new trend.

Coscia is one of the most widely published and quoted authorities in the customer service industry. He has published more than 200 articles, four books and a series of training DVDs. His college curriculum is taught at institutions of higher learning throughout the United States and Canada.

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