Recently I had the privilege of working with Busey Bank and heard their CEO, Van Dukeman, share a concept he referred to as the Velocity of Business, which had to do with how quickly business moved. As I listened to his presentation, I realized the importance of how this applied to the customer service experience.
Velocity is a power word. Fast, powerful, speed, charging ahead, positive motion; these are some of the words that come to mind when I think of the word velocity. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as quickness of motion and rapidity of movement, along with some other more technical definitions.
So how does velocity enter into customer service? It’s about the speed of service. How long does the customer have to wait in line, or wait for a return phone call, or an email response – or for just about anything? It’s about a rapid response, one that meets if not exceeds our customers’ expectations. And, at the same time, velocity can create confidence.
I just love it when one of our clients tells us they are impressed with how fast we respond. Our goal is to return emails and phone calls the same day they are received – ideally within an hour. The worst case may be the next business day for emails and phone calls that come in late in the day. And, if a customer is having a problem, we want to respond within minutes. We’ve been awarded customer service training and speaking contracts because of our ability to quickly respond to our customers’ requests. After all, we must practice what we preach!
I’m impressed when I read the reports about how some companies are responding to social media comments within minutes. Many of these companies are recognized in surveys and polls for their stellar customer service. Conversely, I’m stunned at the companies who wait 24-48 hours to respond.
However, the best of the best take the concept of speed to an even higher level by practicing proactive service, the ability to anticipate needs ahead of a customer’s request. It’s the server who always fills the guest’s water glass before it is empty. As a very basic example of this concept, we like to track the packages that we ship from our office and email our clients to let them know when they have arrived and who signed for them. Many times our emails show up in our clients’ inboxes before the package shows up in their office.
Velocitize your business. Create a sense of urgency. Respond quickly. Be proactive and anticipate your customers’ needs. It creates confidence, which can ultimately lead to the ever coveted, loyal customer.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go tohttp://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)