Did you ever play the game of telephone as a kid? It was fascinating to see the evolution as one kid would say, “Your grandma wears army boots.”, and after passing that sentence through 6 or 7 sets of ears it came out to be, “Your pajamas are ugly”. The game of telephone may be happening in your office or department right now. Information and solutions are being passed from one set of ears to another and at the end of the day each person has a slightly different version of the original message that was sent. The game of telephone plays a big part in the quality of the customer service you deliver and the morale of your team.
How can you determine if the game of telephone is being played in your office?
- Take a look at each person’s workstation. What do you see posted on the walls around them? Is the information outdated? Is there a lot of clutter?
- Ask to see the department manual which many fondly refer to as their bible. It should include not only the detail on your product or service, but it should have the answers to any question one of your employees would have. Check the date on it. It should be updated regularly.
- Compare each person’s copy of the manual to see if they are the same.
- Ask each person individually who gives them updated pricing, changes and other pertinent information needed to help the customer. You may find that each person has a different contact which will open the door for inaccurate information.
What should be in you Customer Service Manual? Here are some ideas for you to either spruce up your existing manual or to develop one. The example below is specific to transportation related industries, but it gives you a good idea of what to do.
- Create a tab for each town, city or county you service.
- Description of services, rules and regulations
- Rates for services
- Prices for bulky items
- How To Handle: new starts, cancellations, transfers, rate matches
- Screen shots showing how to do it
- Billing and Payments
- Billing Cycles
- Who is billed
- Processing payment
- Training materials
- Incentive program
Great additional information to include:
- Sales reps names, cell phones and their territories
- Driver names and routes
- Transfer and landfill information
- Policies on special situations
- Terms and abbreviations
- Pictures and dimensions of containers
- A copy of a new customer welcome packet
- Marketing materials a customer would receive
Making sure that you and your department have a dependable resource with all the answers will improve the quality of the customer service delivered. It will also help you develop a representative that doesn’t have to run to you or someone else to be told what to do and how to do it. In the end, your accuracy will be better and your department will be more efficient.