The following is excerpted from a note from John Tschohl, president of Service Quality Institute, which specializes in customer service success:
Never has speed been more important to your customers—and to people in general—than it is today. In a nutshell: We want what we want—and we want it now! We have no patience with processes—both internal and external—that move slowly.
If you want your business to thrive, it's critical that you focus on speed. That means making speed a priority in every aspect of your business and removing obstacles that make speed impossible.
Step one is to analyze your policies and procedures. In most companies they are put in place to prevent customers from taking advantage of the company and to ensure that employees operate in a controlled environment. The downside, however, is that, all too often, those policies and procedures are roadblocks to speed.
Lack of empowerment is another roadblock that must be eliminated. Most employees won't make empowered decisions because they fear being reprimanded or fired if management disagrees with their actions. Speed cannot exist without empowerment, which allows for quick decisions based on knowledge and expertise.
The third roadblock to speed is procrastination. Many of us tend to wait until the last minute to tackle a project. Instill in your employees the need to do things quickly. And, when they do, praise them.
External barriers to speed are also a problem. If you're doing business with outside vendors who don't exhibit your commitment to speed, fire them. Seek vendors who share your mindset and approach to speed to keep things on schedule.
As an owner, executive, or manager of a company—make speed a priority in every aspect of your business. Speed must be encouraged and supported.
Do this, and you will reap great rewards as long as you don't sacrifice accuracy in the process. Encourage speed, support it, and praise employees who practice it.
Has your organization been able to emphasize speed without sacrificing customer serivice quality? Share your experiences via firstname.lastname@example.org.