ASK GERBER: WHAT IS A CLIENT SERVICE MATRIX? PART DEUX
So you know what a CSM is and why you need it, but now what?
First thing is to remember every business is different. Even businesses within the same industry will be different based on the personality and needs of their clients. Make decisions that are a win-win for both your business, and your client.
So let’s get started.
WHERE DO I START?
Step one is evaluating your client base. What are their wants and needs? And more importantly, what do your clients want that they don’t know they want yet?
Let’s go back to our Amazon example: Who would have thought we all wanted free 2-day shipping as the delivery service standard? As a consumer free shipping was on our mind but Amazon took it a step further by promising that free delivery, with the added bonus of receiving it sooner. Now, this model is a service standard for comparison.
But that doesn’t mean they’re stopping there. Take a look at Amazon’s evolution within the last year. Now you can receive an order same day, no problem! Makes you wonder; what’s next for the product delivery standard of service?
WHEN DO I IMPLEMENT IT?
This is one of those core, critical processes that the sooner you get your arms around it the better. In the early stages of my business, I couldn’t imagine giving three to five days to complete a task. Back then, everything had an immediate response. As time went on, we evolved into where we are today.
Having the processes in place right off the bat will alleviate stress and opportunity for interpretation. It’s just a matter of having the wisdom, audacity and stupidity – all together – to get it done when you’re moving at 1,000mph.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT’S RIGHT FOR MY BUSINESS?
Sadly, there is not a one-size fits all solution. It’s figuring out what works best for you, depending on the nature of the beast of the business. For service businesses, managing the CSM internally is far more important than managing it externally as long as you are consistent. In manufacturing businesses where you are delivering a thing, a hard asset, you have to be clear with what you’re delivering and when.
Consistency is huge.
You may not know what’s right at first, but this is a process that could take a little trial and error. Start by doing a little research, as some service standards are set per industry. From there tweak as necessary based on your client base.
TIPS & TRICKS
- Take your team into consideration. Not only do you need to understand your team’s capacity for setting expectations, take your culture into consideration.
- Keep score. Check-in to see how you’re doing on your efforts by tracking your NPS score to better measure client satisfaction and navigate room for improvements.
- The trick is to not overpromise. Don’t compromise your teams ebb and flow just to make the client happy. If a process wreaks havoc on the work/life balance or internal culture (such as having to answer emails/phone calls while on vacation), scratch it. You can always revisit that offering at a later date.
- Keep in mind this is a living, breathing document that needs to be constantly evolving and updated with how the business matures and changes.
Now, the creation, implementation, and upkeep sound like a lot of work, because it is a lot of work. In the very beginning creating your CSM is up to you as the business owner. But the sooner you can delegate the management of your CSM to someone else, the better.
Now go forth and create!
Opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.