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Article : What is a Great Customer Service Department?


If you took a random survey of companies across the globe and ask them if they had a great customer service department, what do you think they would say? You are right. The majority of them would say they do. Now, if you took the customers of those exact same companies and asked them, I bet you would get a different story. In fact, most customers do not have what they would consider a great experience. Somehow, as leaders, we tell ourselves comforting lies to protect ourselves from unpleasant truths. What we need to do as leaders is to figure out how to close that gap between our efforts to give excellent customer service and how the efforts are perceived, which is our company’s true customer experience.

The first thing you have to do is to put policies, procedures and training into place in order to deliver on your company’s core values. Many times, I have walked into a customer service department and see strong powerful words, developed by the company through extensive effort, that the department is expected to follow above all else. When I ask employees if they can recite these values to me, I usually get the deer in headlights look. When I dig deeper and enquire on how they are measured against the company core values, I either get a shrug of the shoulders or simply an "I don’t know." In fact, if I were to ask the leaders of the customer service departments I was visiting the same questions, I would get the same response 9.9 out of 10 times. So much time and energy is put into developing these ideals which really end up being a lot of wasted money and just words on a wall.

Do you want to be more? Do you want to create a great customer service department? If so, you will have a lot of work to do, but in the end you will create something that only a few brands have achieved. It will all hinge on bringing your core values to life within your customer service department. Unless every action and decision you make can be supported by your core values, you do not do it, period. All brands who have a great customer service department treat their core values more than just words on paper. They invest time and resources ensuring each employee has a clear understanding of the values and how they directly interweave with their job duties and functions.

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The second thing you have to do is ask yourself the following questions. What are the typical measurements and response times in your industry? What are your competitors doing in regards to customer service? What level of service are your customers accustomed to? How can your brand continue to delight your customers over time? If you cannot answer these questions, you need to roll up your sleeves and do your homework. Study your industry, become a secret shopper, and learn the habits and behaviors of your customers. When you approach customer service in this manner, you will establish a differentiator from your peers which will create the great customer service department that eludes most.

While working with a CEO recently, I did some secret shopper tasks on their brand and their competitors. What I found was eye opening for that executive team. The industry was set up as an omnichannel, which is simply a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience. I took each avenue and tested their brand against their competitors. Social media messages were returned anywhere from 22 hours to 11 days later. Email messages were answered anywhere from 2 hours and 45 minutes to 8 hours and 11 minutes later. Both sets of inquires left me underwhelmed to say the least. Not only was the time between my inquiry and their response subpar, but, in most cases, it was not informative at all or they simply told me to call customer service. The question I asked myself was simple. Why would you offer me this channel to communicate with your brand if you were merely going to tell me to call into customer service or not provide me the information I requested? If I were a real customer, I probably would not have followed up with the call. When I did call each brand, the holds were either short or I held for over 5 minutes. However, each call was bland at best and left me, the customer, to do the work after suggestions were made. The goal is to make the customer effort seamless and , in this case, the company did not deliver.

Finally, with this information, I invited the CEO to consider the following in order to "WOW" the customer.

  • What channels did they want to use their efforts and be committed to in order to be most effective? (Social Media, Emails, Chat, Phone)

  • How quickly will they respond to customers on each channel?

  • What turnaround timeline are they going to communicate with their employees and customers in order to close out a request?
  • How will they behave when dealing with their customers? (Tone, language, attitude, empathy, etc.)

  • Who in the company is responsible for their customer service?

These queries are just the first in a series of questions and actions that need to be considered by any brand when they start out on their journey of becoming a great customer service department. Far too many brands settle for just good enough or mediocracy at best. Is that what you want for your brand, your employees, and your customers? I hope the answer is a resounding no. If you are looking to create something special, a lasting brand in a competitive market with the customer service experience and, essentially, your success as a company, it all starts with you as the leader. You must be willing through communication, training and execution to hold yourself, your leaders, and your employees up to your core values. If they are simply words on paper, your customer service department will never be anything more than a job where people will do what they have to in order to collect a paycheck and keep their job. However, if you make your core values a living and breathing culture in your company, you are well on your way to creating a great customer service department that will set you apart not only from your competition, but put you on par with the best in the world.





Tom Cunningham is the North American director of SAAS Operations at PerfectServe. Tom has over twenty two years of call center operations management experience. His background also includes management positions with ADT, Elavon and has consulted for GM, Erie Insurance and Western Dental. He can be reached at 865-719.6960 or emailed at




About PerfectServe:
Company LogoA single, unified communications platform that connects clinicians in any care setting, across the care continuum. Based in Knoxville, Tenn., the intelligent clinical communications platform processes more than 35 million clinical communication interactions each year involving more than 70,000 physicians.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Choose Your Response Method Carefully

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Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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2021 Buyers Guide Consultancies

3D Vision Consulting

. Contact Center setup, management and transformation across all key components including Vision & Strategy, People, Technology, Quality, Processes, Communication and Facilities.
• Customer Experience strategy, design and implementation across multiple delivery channels.
• Design and implementation of full-cycle Ticket/Complaint Management Process/System.
• Develop Customer Satisfaction, Staff Satisfaction and Staff Motivation strategy and programs.
• Develop end-to-end Business Processes, efficient SOPs and well-structured SLAs.
• Build modern customer communication channels including Live Chat, AI Chat Bots, WhatsApp and Social Media Integration.
• Design Sales/Telesales structure, p...
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Call Center Masters

Giving consulting services to call centers

CC-CMM Certification Institute

CC-CMM Certification


Service Journey Thinking
Service Journey Thinking is a comprehensive approach for improving the experience customers have along the service journey. It considers the service journey not only from the customer’s perspective, but it also examines the components that support the experience, including people, technology, processes and policies. By applying Service Journey Thinking, COPC Inc. helps brands promote greater efficiency, improved performance and reduced cost within their operations. For customers, this means reduced effort, improved satisfaction and enhanced loyalty.


Genesys PureConnect
Call Centers, Contact Centers and Cloud Solutions Consultancies

6.) Customer Support Asia

Customer Support Asia assures the success of service offshoring initiatives in the Philippines. Our consultancy serves both:
- clients that have service partners in the Philippines, and need to implement a major service initiative (performance/CX improvement, service change, site expansion, etc); and
- clients that desire to outsource services to the Philippines for the first time, and need expert help to qualify an an "ideal fit" partner, and manage an end-to-end service transition

We support both contact center services and "back office" BPO projects, limiting our practice to sites in the Philippines

CX Central

Contact Centre Specialist Consulting
CX Consult provides specialist contact centre consulting with decades of experience across Australia and Asia/Pacific lead by industry expert Justin Tippett. Services include health checks, optimisation, outsourcing (local and offshore), technology upgrades, strategy and more.

Whether you have a 5 seat contact centre or a large multi-site operation we'll provide you with expert advice to ensure you can achieve your business objectives.

ERIC YOUNG ASSOCIATES (Tele-Centre Assist Inc.)

Contact Center Consulting & Profit Improvement (Lean Six Sigma), Inside Sales, Efficiencies, Call Center Audit, Technology & vendor selection, Telephony, Recruiting, Training, Performance Management, Customer Journey Mapping, Software (CRM) Implementations

Lieber & Associates

Contact Center Consulting
Lieber & Associates assists organizations with contact center issues.This includes management, processes, training, and technology. The firm's assessments evaluate and make recommendations for 15 call center areas ranging from call seasonalities to staffing to better use of the telephone systems. Contact center technology services range from new technology selection and implementation to problem-solving and optimization to technical trouble-shooting. Senior consultants have more than 20 years of experience each and are leaders in their discipline. Clients span most business sectors.

Mpathy Plus

Mpathy Plus transform service, improve performance and provide operational support. We work in all areas of customer service and contact centres from initial strategy, feasibility studies, business cases, project management through to operational reviews, resource planning etc. We are independent and have vast experience of implementing, managing and changing contact centres and the customer experience.

Outsourcing Solutions

Outsourcing Solutions Europe is an advisory firm that helps companies to find the right contact center/BPO partner to serve European customers

PCA Advisors Ltd

Contact Center Sales - growth and marketing strategies
I work with contact centers to position their companies to take advantage of opportunities that exist for them. We also work with their existing sales team to improve their communication and hunting skills. 'Growth' is our greatest ability.

Pelorus Associates

Marketing Communications
Pelorus Associates is a market research and marketing communications company that assists developers of contact center solutions by providing in-depth market research and by authoring white papers, e-books, and blog posts.


We can help You boost Your business results by:

- Building or developing high performing multi-channel customer care operations

- Improving metrics like Customer Satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), First Contact Resolution (FCR), Customer Retention rate, Inbound conversions

- Developing Your teams' skills to excel front and back-office operations and Customer relations

- Preparing and executing efficient Voice of the Customer and Customer Advocacy approach

- We will help You manage challenges and risks when changes affect people, operations and technology.


PT VADS Indonesia provides consultancies with trainers, modules, a development programs for individuals and/or teams. Types of consultancies provided by PT VADS: Knowledge Process, Transformation Consultancy, Customer Services, Contact Center, Leadership, Interpersonal Development, Motivation, Training for Trainers and Digital Marketing.

SCC Services Group

Contact Center Operations Performance Management
In today’s competitive business environment, contact center and marketing professionals are constantly challenged to manage a growing business, achieve superior performance levels and at times are asked to support services and products that are becoming more complex.

Faced with this reality, the consulting disciplines that SCC Services Group focuses on are operations management and service delivery excellence in the customer service, contact center and brand marketing arenas.

Our consulting practice puts emphasis on:

- Contact Center Operational Assessments
- Human Capital Management
- Organizational Structure
- Brand Marketing
- Strategic Planning
- Sales and Customer Care Tra...
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The Taylor Reach Group

Established in 2003, The Taylor Reach Group is an award winning, call, contact centre and customer experience consulting and advisory firm. The company is based in Toronto and has offices in New York, Atlanta, Washington, Ottawa, London, Bangalore, Hong Kong and Beijing. We are vendor agnostic and do not partner with technology or outsource agencies. The only one who pays us are our clients. Each of our consultants possess a minimum of 20 years of ‘hands-on’ call/contact center operational management experience. We do not sell the pyramid, the seasoned experts you deal with through the sales process are the same people who will complete your project.
Taylor Reach has worked with contact cen...
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