As a small business owner, you understand the correlation between investment and profitability. In theory, the more you investment in your company, the easier it will be to achieve your objectives.
But there is a fine line between a smart investment and throwing your hard-earned cash down the drain. The most successful small business owners are careful to evaluate their investments for short-term impact as well as long-term ROI.
The need for evaluation is especially acute in the area of customer service consulting. Customer service consultants run the gamut from results-focused professionals to rank amateurs who talk a good game, but ultimately fail to deliver on their promises.
If you've hired a customer service consultant and are on the fence about investing more resources in your relationship, here is our advice for evaluating the effectiveness of customer service consultants.
- Employee morale. Improved call center morale is a good gauge of the effectiveness of the customer service consulting process. Small businesses frequently call in a consultants to motivate their staff. When your team is energized to interact with your customers, it's mission accomplished.
- Employee buy-in. Employee buy-in is just as important as employee morale. No one likes change and if the consultant is doing his job, he will suggest changes to everyday call center routines. Those changes will be met with resistance, but if your employees ultimately buy-in to the process, it's well worth the consultant's fee.
- Customer retention. Consultant evaluations boil down to bottom line results. High performing customer service departments translate into increased customer retention rates. If you established customer retention as a primary goal and the consultant's services haven't resulted in significant increases, it's time to either find a different consultant or abandon the process altogether.
- Collaborative workflows. Customer service isn't an isolated business function. When it's done right, it is an integrated part of an efficient workplace. Expect your consulting investment to result in more collaborative workflows with sales, support and other departments. If collaboration is stagnant (or even inhibited) as a consequence of consulting, then the consultant has failed to adequately serve your company.