What do customer-obsessed organizations have in common?
A culture of continuous service improvement prioritizes innovation and customer satisfaction.
Read time: 5 minutes
What do customer-obsessed organizations have in common? The answer, they’re dedicated to continuous service improvement.
When it comes to customer retention, it’s well known that loyal customers are more responsive, more engaged, and have a much higher lifetime spend than one-time customers. And brand loyalty is inextricably tied to customer experience (CX) — the interactions consumers have with a company or brand leave a lasting impression. In fact, 85% of consumers are likely to repurchase from a company after they’ve had a positive experience.¹
Think about your favorite takeout restaurant or the place you get your coffee. Why do you keep going back? Most likely, it’s the consistency of the service or the friendly barista that greets you when you walk in the door. Sure, the taste and quality of the food and drink matters — but it’s not always the thing you remember.
It’s often those companies with exemplary customer service that provide outstanding customer experience — and that can mean more than even price point. For example, fast-foodies might choose Chik-fil-A over cheaper options because the speed and quality of service is unmatched in the industry. If similar chains took a page out of the high standards set by Chik-fil-A, we might see more of those competitors evaluating their own methods and implementing changes that would improve their customer service, too.
Evaluate. Innovate. Evolve.
So, what is continuous service improvement?
It’s a commitment to advancing your organization by evaluating and improving upon processes and service standards on an ongoing basis. While it sounds simple, it’s not so easy. Organizations need to be agile, data-driven, and growth-oriented all while striving to win the day, every day. But, more and more, companies are placing continuous improvement at the forefront of their business operations to create stickier customer experiences.
Under the umbrella of continuous service improvement is everything a service organization does to regularly evaluate, innovate, and evolve facets of their organization so they can provide customers with the best possible experience. Not once, not twice, but each and every time, and ideally at every touchpoint.
A commitment to continuous improvement must be instilled in an organization’s culture so that everyone from the top down is constantly working to gauge customers’ needs, listen to their feedback, and keep a flexible mindset in terms of how that service is delivered.
Continuous improvement is an inside job
Without a doubt, companies that have staying power and a loyal customer base are those that value investing in employees and prioritizing self-awareness on a company-wide scale to identify areas for improvement. Organizations that treat their employees as their own internal customers are much more likely to succeed in creating exceptional CX for external customers. That’s because continuous improvement is driven by company culture.
For the automotive giant Toyota, the concept of “continuous improvement” can be traced to the company’s guiding philosophy of kaizen or “change for the better.” The company encourages its employees to adopt this mindset and constantly bring forth new ideas to make production more efficient and less wasteful. Toyota has stayed true to this pillar since its inception in 1937, and many companies today, even outside of the automotive industry, continue to emulate the Toyota Production System (TPS).
While the automotive industry has been hit with hard times, Toyota has managed to come out winning – not only because of the quality of their products, but also because they’ve built increasingly better processes and solutions through the continuous improvement process. They also place a sharp focus on continuous education and development of their employees all the way from the assembly line to the boardroom.
Our approach to continuous service improvement
Ricoh Service Excellence is a continuous improvement methodology that was built from our customer's perspective. It’s the way we standardize and operationalize our commitment to customer service across Ricoh.
Service Excellence begins with how we analyze our business, implement our solution, manage our operation, motivate and communicate with our people and build an ongoing strategy with our customers. It drives the quality, performance, and delivery of each of our engagements and solutions for our customers — and is designed to improve the total customer experience through every phase of our relationship.
There is a service delivery aspect to everything Ricoh offers and in every interaction, we have with our customers. Whether it’s providing outsourced IT service desk support, managing break/fix work for print and other digital workspace devices, or performing hands-on service work on our customers’ OEM devices through our Service Advantage offering, our consistent and ongoing dedication to service excellence is part of our culture. By focusing on continually raising the bar on our service, we build relationships with our customers that deliver continuous value.
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