energizing breakthrough performance

Cross-Functional Customer Care Teams and the Service Revolution

Customer service lost in management dysfunction

In one live example drawn from our client files, the Sales Operations folks definitely want to go the extra mile to close the sale. To be sure, the Credit people want to consummate the sale as well, but more slowly and with all due care and diligence. The Customer and Product Operations folks want to be responsive but the firm’s Credit unit typically clears sales in “clumps”—groupings that creates delivery scheduling jam-ups. It’s no surprise that most of the customers want their product/service when the sale is finally consummated. The scheduling queue creates fresh customer frustration.

The motivated, read vocal, customer jumps in to investigate the nature and extent of the service delay. This customer becomes your new “partner in management,” having concluded that yours is yet another unmanaged firm where the customer must manage service if satisfaction is to be attained. This exacerbates service delays as your staff divert their attention from expediting service to providing explanations of service delays, delaying service delivery even further. The loudest customer gets the best service and you reinforce rogue customer behavior at the expense of silent customers who may actually be more desirable customers, important to the future of your business. Sound familiar?

Cross-functional customer care teams to the rescue!

There are other dysfunctional patterns that are generated by enterprises which place the burden for solving cross-functional customer problems squarely on the back of the customer. However, a recitation of these dysfunctional variations is the focus of another article. Suffice it to say that a Cross-Functional Customer Care Team assumes full responsibility for customer satisfaction where Satisfaction = Customer Perception of Service Quality/Value – Expectations for Service Quality/Value. In other words, if you want the service your firm delivers to actually exceed your customer’s expectations, then cross-functional Customer Care Teams can get the job done, but it requires more than snapping your fingers to make it happen: It requires effective matrix management of service delivery.

The benefits of cross-functional Customer Care Teams are considerable on both the demand and the supply side. The customer derives significant advantages of convenience that result from coordinated, rapid, and comprehensive service delivery.

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