Measuring Performance for Exceptional Customer Service
When it comes to providing exceptional customer service, companies like FedEx, Apple, Chick-Fil-A, Marriott and Amazon are at the top of the list year after year. Why? Because they stand behind their products and services with some of the best guarantees in their industries.
In February of 2016, Earnest Machine took an industry-leading step in customer service when it established the “Earnest Service Guarantee,” which promises that if Earnest sends you the wrong part, enters your order incorrectly, shorts you a quantity or delivers a priority shipment late, the company will make it right and also credit $50 to the customer’s account.
Why offer a guarantee that no other distributor in the fastener industry is making?
Jeannie Burgess, ISO Quality Systems Manager at Earnest and a 28-year-empoyee, explains.
“Quality has been a big part of our business since our inception, but it was seen to be the role of only certain departments,” says Burgess. “About three years ago we took steps to engrain quality into the culture of our company so that everyone plays a part in providing the best possible customer experience.”
What gets measured gets done, or so goes the old adage. At Earnest, everything gets measured, reported and addressed. The most important metrics are those that mean the most to customers: Parts accuracy, quantity accuracy, order entry accuracy and on-time delivery.
As the company continued improving in each of those areas, Burgess said the Earnest management team grew confident enough to put their money where their metrics are and launched the Earnest Service Guarantee, which included sharing the company’s quality metrics with customers.
So what kind of success has Earnest enjoyed? Here are the company’s 2016 quality goals and achievements:
2016 Goal 2016 Achievement
On-time Delivery 96.75% 96.84%
Parts Accuracy 99.95% 99.96%
Quantity Accuracy 99.94% 99.94%
Order Entry Accuracy 99.93% 99.96%
With success like that, will the Earnest Machine team be resting on its laurels in 2017? No chance, says Burgess.
“We review our goals each year, and we don’t focus on errors in the negative sense,” points out Burgess. “Instead, we look at how we were able to perform the previous year and set goals and actions to improve in the coming year.”
And how have customers responded to Earnest’s steadfast pursuit of quality and customer service? “Customer response has been great,” says Burgess. “Some tell us that we’re going way beyond what we need to do, and others tell us we don’t have to credit their account when we make a mistake. Our response? ‘That’s our commitment to you.’”
5 Tips for Improving Your Customer Service
Here are five tips for improving your customer service, courtesy of Jeannie Burgess, ISO Quality Systems Manager for Earnest Machine.
- Be aware of how you’re currently performing, which means tracking and monitoring performance.
- Listen to your customers. You’re providing a service to them, so listen to what they have to say. You can’t take a stance of, “Well, we don’t do it that way.”
- Take corrective action when necessary.
- Everyone in the company has to be committed to quality and customer service. It needs to be engrained in the company culture.
- Don’t let high standards scare you. Focus on what you’re doing right and make it even better, and higher standards will come.