In the March 1, 2010 edition of BusinessWeek there is an article entitled“Customer Service Champs: USAA’s Battle Plan.” USAA provides financial services for military families and they understand their customers inside and out. They use technology to allow service men and women to deposit checks no matter where they are stationed. They have programs specially designed for the unique nature of their customers. They address their customers by their military title. They have created a company that puts the specific needs of their customers first.
I was especially intrigued by what the article refers to it as their Secret Sauce.
- Training for call center reps lasts up to six months BEFORE they hit the phones so they have a true understanding of the customer before fielding calls
- Employees don the attire of their military customer; walking “a mile” in their shoes, wearing Kevlar vest and eating military MREs (meals ready to eat)
- Top notch benefits – happy employees make for happy customers
- Huge Technology investment for both the customer service reps as well as state of the art mobile options for customers
Rarely do we find a company that is so customer-focused they require employees to “live the life” of their customers so they can understand their unique needs. What lessons can we learn?
If we step back from our business for a moment and turn our ENTIRE ATTENTION to the customer – their life style – their needs – would we find there were changes that need to be made in how we approach our business?