Maintaining a customer-centric focus should be a priority for every group in your organization. A simple concept in theory, but as soon as the water gets rough we tend to batten down the hatches and retreat to our internal comfort zones. It may be time to deploy your greatest resource for customer-focused evangelism – your very own support team.
Allow me to present an exciting new arrow in your quiver, the “Customer Ambassador” Program! There are so many ways to implement this concept, but you will soon see why it is essential for both your service analysts and the larger organization.
What is it?
This is a program by which each analyst is assigned to represent the support group to another department within the company. Look for opportunities to collaborate and improve the customer experience. I have seen fantastic projects conceived and executed as a result of this cross-pollination. Set basic guidelines on how much time per week can be allotted toward these activities, and allow creativity to guide the rest!
How Your Team Benefits:
With the amount of time your analysts spend on the phone, they are likely to start viewing their headset as a prison shackle. Set them free! Through career coaching with your analysts, you likely know what aspirations/interests/aptitudes your employees have. Begin to expose them to the right departments and people. I’ve worked with several analysts who had interest in another group, but after getting their feet wet, they realized it was not a good fit. Creating learning moments such as this can save an individual years of side stepping away from their optimal career path. On the other hand, there have been several excellent connections made through the program that have resulted in exciting promotions and new opportunities.
In addition, your team will be exposed to the larger organization in a powerful new way. We often challenge our reps to think beyond their current role and become more strategic, but fail to equip them with “big picture” knowledge. If you are their only connection point to events outside the department, creativity will be stifled. Give your analysts the chance to see the larger picture for themselves! They are likely to come up with solutions you would have never conceived.
How the Company Benefits:
What could be better than having a passionate, customer-centric ambassador in each area of your business? There is no better way to achieve a widespread understanding of customer needs.
As a leader implementing this program, you are no longer the sole customer advocate to the larger business. You equip your team with a compelling story, develop that story through key metrics, and allow them to be the voice of the customer. It allows you to increase the positive impact from support on the business exponentially, while at the same time empowering your team.
Each partnership will have unique benefits to the business. Take sales for example. A support ambassador can help identify and address knowledge gaps in the sales cycle, many of which lead to customer frustration down the road. They can educate around new support offerings such the self-service portal, ultimately educating sales representatives on how to better assist their customers and reduce calls to the service center. Each department will experience great benefits from the customer-centric injection they receive from your ambassadors!
Does your organization have a similar program? Share some of the advantages/disadvantages you have seen!