Customer Service Quiz - A Reality Check
by Rick Sidorowicz

We are customer driven and focused on delivering value and service; our associates are empowered and can outperform on every dimension; we exceed our customers' expectations consistently and provide superior products and services.

Good for you!

But is that true?

Really?

Seriously?

I know it might be your vision and intent however, is that your reality?

Do you want to find out what's so?

Here is a reality check in the format of an internal survey designed to highlight the gaps between intention and reality. It can be an extremely powerful tool to identify gaps, challenge perceptions, prioritize developmental needs and re-launch your enterprise or business unit to embrace a truly customer-focused culture.

Are you really ready for this?

CEOs that are striving to make a customer-focused culture "real" will love this technique, as it will provide a powerful reality check of progress and gaps. If you are the leader I suggest you launch it full blast to create a most mindful intervention into the 'culture' of your organization. But be very mindful and ready to re-commit to what you stand for.

Most other executives and managers leading change within your enterprise may find it a little more challenging and contentious, so I would suggest you conduct a test drive or pilot project with a smaller group to get the feel of the types of issues it may bring to the table. Check it out - conduct the survey and have the debriefing meeting before you launch it beyond. Do it and you will understand what I mean.

The process:

  1. Survey employees at three hierarchical levels in your organization, with the proviso that one group must be your most front most customer facing associates, and another group be the top most executive members - the senior management team. The third group should be that in the middle - mid managers or directors or supervisors.

  2. Tabulate the results on a pure quantitative score for each question for each group. Prepare a table that compares the survey responses for each question from each group side by side.

  3. Conduct a debriefing with the three groups, one at a time, starting with the top most team.

A simple process with simple questions that will tee up a most interesting reality check.

Here are the questions:

The response options are the following:

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neither agree or disagree
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

There is a better print version of the survey here - http://www.refresher.com/Archives/arescsquiz2.html

There will be more information on interpreting the scores following the table of questions.

Customer Service Reality Check

1.
Our corporate mission and strategy recognizes the customer as number one.
1
2
3
4
5
2.
Our firm's initiatives are defined in terms of adding value for our customers.
1
2
3
4
5
3.
Our customers expect consistent no excuses service as a matter of course.
1
2
3
4
5
4.
Our customers are at the top of the pyramid, even ahead of shareholders.
1
2
3
4
5
5.
Our customer related strategies are integrated with all our initiatives and operations.
1
2
3
4
5
7. We consistently exceed our customers' expectations for value and quality in our products, systems and services. 1 2 3 4 5
8.
We consistently go beyond satisfaction to find new ways to add value to our relationship with our customers.
1
2
3
4
5
9.
Customer service is a collective organizational responsibility.
1
2
3
4
5
10.
Anyone who interacts with a customer is in a position to enhance or jeopardize the relationship.
1
2
3
4
5
11.
Quality is defined not so much by our standards as by what the customer needs and wants, and that perception changes over time.
1
2
3
4
5
12.
Our customers come first, in good times and in tough times.
1
2
3
4
5
13.
We are really committed to customer service.
1
2
3
4
5
14.
Our employees understand our customer focus and know how to respond to customer needs.
1
2
3
4
5
15.
We ensure that every employee is clear about the fundamental purpose of creating and retaining customers profitably. 
1
2
3
4
5
16.
Our associates at all levels are looking outwards for opportunities to hear customers more directly and solve their problems faster and better than ever before.
1
2
3
4
5
17.
The roles of our employees have expanded to better respond to the range of customer requirements.
1
2
3
4
5
18. Our people know how to listen to our customers, find out what they need, and provide solutions that help them make money. 1 2 3 4 5
19.
Our recruiting, selection, reward, and performance appraisal systems are all structured to recognize and reward customer focus and service excellence.
1
2
3
4
5
20.
Our associates have become much more active in differentiating customer needs.
1
2
3
4
5
21. We teach our associates that they are all service providers and emphasize their role in customer retention. 1 2 3 4 5
22.
Our associates are being more creative in developing solutions for customers.
1
2
3
4
5
23. Our associates are advocates of our customers within our organization. 1 2 3 4 5
24. Within our organization we treat ourselves as internal customers and strive to deliver service and value. 1 2 3 4 5
25. Our customer driven mission is constantly communicated to all employees. 1 2 3 4 5
26. We educate our associates to serve customers better. 1 2 3 4 5
27. We constantly update our technology and the skills of our people to respond to new technological advances and shifting customer demands. 1 2 3 4 5
28. Our marketing executives spend the majority of their time out in the field with dealers and end purchasers of our products. 1 2 3 4 5
29. We have become better at listening to the voice of the customer. 1 2 3 4 5
30. We listen to our customers, capture their ideas, complaints and expectations, and turn them into action and improvement. 1 2 3 4 5
31. We obtain direct input from our customers in the development cycle of new products and services. 1 2 3 4 5
32. We know our customers' businesses inside and out. 1 2 3 4 5
33. We show our customers how they can make or save money using our products, systems and services. 1 2 3 4 5
34. We look for gaps that exist between customer expectations and their perceptions of performance, and seize the opportunities to respond effectively. 1 2 3 4 5
35. We are structured to provide services as close to the customer as possible.  1 2 3 4 5
36. Our top ten customers have my home telephone number. 1 2 3 4 5
37. Our customers have a formal voice in our directions. 1 2 3 4 5
38. Our surveys tell us that our efforts are making a noticeable difference. 1 2 3 4 5
39. Customer complaints about service, quality, billings, and deliveries are decreasing. 1 2 3 4 5
40. We ask our customers what they need and how we are performing against their expectations of us. 1 2 3 4 5

A few notes on the scoring of the survey:

  1. All questions are posed as positive and therefore a positive response confirms the positive. Any average score below 4.0 is therefore a negative. Positive is agree or strongly agree.

  2. There will likely be a significant gap on many questions between the respondent group at the executive level and the front lines. That is the gap between intent and reality. The diagnostic may help determine the areas of greatest opportunity to better clarify and reinforce your values and intent.

  3. Please pay particular attention to the responses from the middle respondent group. Those managers in the middle may or may not buy into the intent, and may or may not be executing and supporting the work of those on the front lines.

The Debrief

Your presentation of the survey results and how you facilitate the debriefing session can be a powerful intervention for positive change. The magnitude of the gaps will guide your thinking and planning however, there are a few simple tips to keep the process focused on results:

  1. Keep all individual responses confidential and present only the summary scores or averages for each respondent group.

  2. Prepare only one summary of all of the questions with the average scores of each of the respondent groups. The purpose is to highlight the gaps and opportunities.

  3. Present the findings first to your most senior executive group. Depending on the results you may want to reconvene and revisit your approach. If you have alignment go forward quickly to celebrate your success. If you have major issues, pause and reflect - and develop a new plan.

  4. In any event please acknowledge the valuable input from all in the process and let everyone know you will take their feedback very seriously in formulating a strategy to more effectively compete and win.

And please share your stories of your great successes and challenges. Every reality check is valuable, as the ultimate purpose is to make your strategy real - and show up on the front lines for your customers. It takes great courage to be an advocate of a reality. That is where great performance begins.

Enjoy.


Rick Sidorowicz is the Publisher and Editor of The CEO Refresher and
the Minister of Culture of High Performance Retail.

Many more articles in Customer Service in The CEO Refresher Archives

     
   
   


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