5 Ways to Improve Service Using the 80/20 Rule

Have you ever dealt with a company and wondered if their people have ever received any customer service training?

I’m sure you have. Well, what makes you think that your customers are not saying the same thing about your company’s employees?

Poor service is a result of trying to do too many things at once, poor training and/or having the wrong people in authority to improve the situation.

Thinking in terms of 80/20, if you want to improve service and profitability, follow these steps:

1. Stop trying to service everyone’s needs.

80% of sales come from 20% of your service or product offering – maybe it’s 70/30 or 90/10, but there is a point at which you offer more than what your customers value. Figure it out and focus on the 20% that leads to 80% of your sales and profits. These are the areas that matter most to your customers. Improve in these areas and you’ll see the greatest return for your efforts.

2. Take a critical look at your training programs and focus your training on what really matters to your customer.

Determine how you want employees to communicate and interact with your customers. Be specific: politeness, tone of voice, words being used, etc. Role play with your employees and practice with them over and over. Then, trust your people to do the job.

3. Become a customer of your own business. Don’t outsource this!

Follow the steps and interactions your customer goes through and eliminate the delays, extra handling, unnecessary verifications and technical jargon. Make sure your people know the product you manufacture, service or distribute inside and out.

4. Ask your lower level employees to get involved.

They know what’s going on. They’re sick and tired of dealing with angry customers or customers who do not have a consistently good experience with the company. They know what’s wrong and often what to do about it. Don’t be surprised if the problem is their boss or upper management not dealing with known issues. Make the changes. Don’t kick the can down the street! Don’t say you’re too busy!

5. Look in the mirror.

If you’re the President or CEO, remember, you can’t do everything. Focus your efforts and resources where they will have the greatest impact on improving customer satisfaction and growing sales.

Simplified? You bet. But you don’t need complicated strategies, plans, committees, programs or initiatives to ensure your customers have a great experience. Start with the basics. Get the fundamentals down. Most of the issues do not need to be delegated. They need a decision-maker to do their job. Make the right decisions to move your company forward.

Photo Credit: janesdead/foter/CC BY-NC-SA

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