Manage Quality Customer Service II

 

This is the second article in a two-part discussion around the subject of quality customer service. The series is an amalgam of thought and where appropriate and possible I have acknowledged the source of the material contained in the articles. The discussion is premised on the need to understand the critical elements of customer service and the functions of management to manage the quality of the experience for the customer.


Previously I discussed the five management functions of planning, organising, staffing, leading and monitoring. In this article I address the dimensions of quality customer service.



2. QUALITY SERVICE



We can all recall those personal experiences where we have been on the receiving end of negative customer service and sometimes may be a positive experience.

What is it that makes our experiences negative or positive? What are the key aspects? If we can identify them and see if they are common to all service quality then we have a clear starting point to manage the experience for the customer.



SERVICE QUALITY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER.


“…the customer perceives service in her/his own terms. The customer alone pays the freight (or doesn’t) for what ever reason or collection of reasons he or she chooses. Period. No debate. No contest.”



Someone has said that customer perception of service is judged according to five dimensions, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy and tangibles.


2.1 Reliability



Reliability is the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.



2.2 Responsiveness



Responsiveness is the willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.



2.3 Assurance



Assurance encompasses the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence



2.4 Empathy



Empathy encompasses the concerned, individualised attention provided to the customer



2.5 Tangibles



Tangibles relate to the appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communication medium





3. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER



The five dimensions apply in all circumstances whether the business is operating from a physical location or on-line.

Some of the key questions that need to be asked are:

Are we addressing the five dimensions of quality in our planning?

Are we organising our operations according to the five dimensions of quality?

Are our staff given the resources and the training to perform in accord with the five dimensions of quality?

Are we communicating the direction we are taking and the improvements we are seeking to achieve in the five dimensions of quality?

Do we have in place monitoring systems that measure our performance in each of the five dimensions of quality?

Manage Quality Customer Service I

This is the first in a two-part series of discussions around the subject of quality customer service. The series is an amalgam of thought and where appropriate and possible I have acknowledged the source of the material contained in the articles. The discussion is premised on the need to understand the critical elements of customer service and the functions of management to manage the quality of the experience for the customer.



1. Five Management Functions



Managers’ skills and activities to get the job done have been traditionally grouped into five functional areas, planning, organising, staffing, leading and monitoring.



Planning > Organising > Staffing > Leading > Monitoring


1.1 Planning



Planning involves establishing a goal and objectives and deciding how best to achieve them. What needs to be accomplished? By when? What needs to be done to make it happen? Who is best equipped to do it?



As the saying goes, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’



Things don’t happen by themselves. They need to be planned. And remember a goal without an action plan is a wish!



Planning also involves innovating. Continual improvements, however small, are an imperative. No matter how well things are done now, failing to make improvements is a recipe for disaster in an uncertain business environment.



1.2 Organising



People, materials, equipment, machines, time and money are all resources. They need to be arranged and coordinated so that the plans can be successfully carried out.



1.3 Staffing



It is often said that people are an organisation’s most valuable resource. They need to be attracted to the organisation, recruited to join it and trained to do their jobs effectively. They need to be treated well so the organisation retains them, because losing employees is expensive.



This function is becoming increasingly important as labour becomes scarce, knowledge and expertise more valuable, and businesses organise themselves in different ways to meet the challenges of the global environment.



1.4 Leading



Effective leadership is concerned with supporting, guiding, influencing and inspiring others. Setting a good example, developing team spirit, involving and motivating people, and building morale are a few of the important leadership skills. The leading function consumes a large part of most managers’ time and, like the staffing function, it is becoming increasingly important.



1.5 Monitoring



‘How are we doing?’ is the monitoring question. Are we operating within budget? Are we meeting production and sales targets? Are our plans progressing as expected? ‘Keeping tabs’ on things by watching critical control points and sensitive spots alerts us to potential problems so we can take corrective action in plenty of time.

(Cole, K, 2001, Supervision: The Theory and Practice of First-Line Management, Second Edition, Prentice Hall, Australia).

God With Us II

As well as the opportunity to celebrate the birth of my saviour, Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, I appreciate Christmas by celebrating family, friends and giving.

This year I was given two books – I love reading – Mao’s Last Dancer and William P Young‘s The Shack. I devoured both books quickly as well as Taylor & Beyond by Malcolm Knox – a book I had on the shelf for some time. I watched the film of Mao’s Last Dancer at the local cinema and was waiting to borrow a copy from the local library when lo and behold, as mentioned, I received a copy as a present.

My reading of The Shack was timely as it complemented my ponderings on the theme, “God for us, God with us, God in us.” That I discussed in my last posting around the Christmas message.

Apart from wrestling with the issue of personal trauma, pain and suffering Young’s portrayal of the God-head and the threefold relationship between God, the Father, God, The Son, and God, the Holy Spirit captured my attention.

The threefold nature of God can be loosely connected with the theme, God for us, God with us, God in us.

God For Us – God the Father

God’s attitude toward us is always unwavering favour. We are created in His image and He desires to be in relationship with us.

Eugene Peterson, The Message, in 2 Peter 3:9 puts it this way, God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anybody lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.

The Apostle Paul in Romans 5:8 writes, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God With Us – God the Son

Following the resurrection, Matthew records in 28:18-20, Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

God In Us – God the Holy Spirit

John’s record of the words of Jesus in 14:16-17 states, And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.

Each one in the threefold nature of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, work together to purposely and perfectly affect the purposes of God on earth. Rather than competing for power or authority they submit to one another and fulfill their respective roles in achieving God’s purposes.

How would this way of working operate in the workplace? Could it possibly work in some way in a workplace? If so, what would be required of the people involved?

The Apostle Paul in speaking about the generosity of the Macedonian churches writes in 1 Corinthians 8:5, And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.

Herein lies the pattern for Christian behaviour in the workplace. How then shall I behave if God is for me, He is with me and He is within me?

Acknowledgment:
Unless otherwise stated all scripture passages quoted are taken from the New International Version.

God With Us I

After giving it some thought I decided to say, “No.” to Nerida’s invitation to speak at the 2009 Christmas Eve service. However, the theme stuck in my mind.

“God for us, God with us, God in us.”

1. God With Us

The central theme of the Christmas season is God with us.

The gospel writer,Matthew, in 1:23 recalls the prophet message of Isaiah recorded many years before, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, God with us.”

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians states, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as aman, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”

Following the resurrection, Matthew records in 28:18-20, “Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The central theme of the gospel message—God with us.

2. God For Us

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans declares in 8:31-38 that God is for us building his declaration to an amazing crescendo in the final verses with, “No, in all these things we are more than conquereors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God’s heart toward us is always wanting our best. He never wavers—God is for us, which is counter to what some people choose to do when faced with difficulty, blame God. Pain and suffering are consequences of a fallen world where the decision was made to turn from God.


Down through the years many people have found reassurance in Psalm 23, which affirms God is for us and He is with us no matter the circumstances, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff they comfort me.”

3. God In us

Again the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians writes in 1:25-27, “I…present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed…God has chosen to make known…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

God for us, God with us and God in us brings amazing possibilities for 2010.

By the way Nerida chose to speak herself at the Christmas Eve service. I heard she did a great job.

Acknowledgment: All scripture passages have been quoted from the New International Version.