The CEO of Busey Bank, Van Dukeman, has an interesting concept he calls the Velocity of Business. I heard his presentation on the subject of how quickly a business moves when I had the privilege of working with the bank, and I realized the importance of how velocity applies to the customer service experience.
What comes to mind when you hear the word velocity? Fast, powerful, charging ahead, positive motion – velocity is a power word. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines velocity as speed of motion and rapidity of movement, in addition to other scientific and technical uses of the word.
It's not hard to see how velocity can benefit the customer service experience. Customers want fast service – whether they are waiting in line, calling the customer service center or waiting for an email response. If you are able to provide a rapid response that meets, or prepares, customers' expectations, velocity goes a long way in creating confidence.
At some companies, the goal is to return phone calls and emails the same day they are received – ideally within an hour, or even minutes if a customer is having a problem. Customers notice the efforts, too. I love it when clients tell others that they are impressed with a quick response time. The benefits are apparent – companies have been awarded customer service training and speaking contracts based on a fast responses to customers' requests. Strive to “practice what we preach” and follow the same concepts that are taught.
Some other companies really get it too – those same companies whose stated goal is to respond to social media comments within minutes are also generally the ones recognized in surveys and polls for their stellar customer service. On the other hand, I'm amazed that there are companies still waiting 24-48 hours (or more) to respond.
But there exists an even higher level of the concept of speed. The very best companies practice proactive service, aiming to anticipate the customer's needs before the customer even has to ask. A very basic example of this would be the server who refills a diner's water glass before it is empty. A business service that includes tracking packages that ship from an office and email clients a confirmation to let them know the package has arrived and who signed for it. Often, the client receives our email message before the package makes its way to his or her office.
Create a sense of urgency among your employees. Respond quickly and proactively anticipate your customers' needs. Velocitize your business. Doing so will create confidence, and extremely, the ever-coveted loyal customer.