Start an “Ask” Department

customer serviceThe other day I stopped by a nearby department store to return something for Cassie. The two ladies that were manning the customer service desk were helpful, but then I ventured out into the store. None of their employees said “hi.” No one asked if I needed assistance. It was far from a pleasant experience, but it got me to thinking about something: Why not get rid of your customer service department?

Say you create a new department that is in charge of “x.” A psychological shift then happens throughout your entire business. You now have somewhere for all of the questions and complaints to go about “x.” The rest of your staff then has a psychological out and they don’t have to take any responsibility for “x.”

Apply this to the story I started out with. The department store has a customer service department and that is exactly where all customer service goes on. The rest of the store’s team has other stuff to do. So what if you got rid of your customer service department? Seriously. What if you got rid of it all together and took the following steps:

  1. Reorient your entire business model so that customer service is your first priority.
  2. Make customer service everybody’s primary responsibility.
  3. Assign out other responsibilities as secondary tasks.
  4. Brand your entire staff as customer service.
  5. Rebrand your “customer service” department as the “questions” or “information” department.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Should customer service be at the core of your business? If so, why?
  • What do your employees think their primary responsibility is?
  • How can you shift their perspective so that customer service is priority #1?
  • How can you facilitate this process?
  • In what ways could you better tell your customer service story?

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