Many companies have never heard of the concept of a customer service clinic, primarily because quality customer service is not always a top priority within the industry. There are multiple reasons for this, including the difficulty measuring the ROI of customer service, and budgetary restrictions. But with trends such as increasing deregulation, the growth of renewable energy, and the emergence of microgrids and distributed generation, among others, customer service must continue to be a priority.
What is a Customer Service Clinic?
A customer service clinic is essentially a review of your company’s customer service practices, generally in the form of a multi-functional full day workshop session. The overarching goal is not only to improve customer service metrics and performance, but also to make customer service more top-of-mind across the entire company. This article from Entrepreneur has an excellent overview of how to run this type of clinic.
Why It Matters for Emergency Preparedness
On the surface, there is no clear and direct connection between customer service and emergency preparedness. But a deeper look reveals a strong connection. The main reason is that customer communication can make or break how your company’s outage restoration efforts are perceived by both ratepayers and regulators.
It doesn’t matter what utility sector you work in; when an outage strikes, customers and other stakeholders want answers, and they want them fast. And the way in which these answers are delivered – reactive and unfriendly versus proactive and empathetic – clearly influences how restoration performance is perceived. Poorly perceived efforts are a recipe for consumer backlash and increased regulatory scrutiny. Obviously, this is not what you want, but an effective customer service clinic can help avoid these negative perceptions. Given the fact that perception is reality, this is extremely important.