Enhancing customer service team skills: by means of Option Solving!

Not so long ago, I was working with a key member of a client’s fairly new commercial team. As part of being cost effective, during these more challenging business times, she was having to share support from the company’s customer service team with it’s government teams. At the same time, she articulated the differences between government and commercial customers, where there’s an expectation of much greater responsiveness from commercial customers. This presented her with a dilemma, since, as a relatively new person to the scene, she could not impose her will on a well established team and its protocol. How could she best handle some clear education needs?

With her prior knowledge of option solving, we immediately set about creating a suitable question. This ended up being: ““What is our optimal approach toward gearing our Customer Service Teams to handle commercial customers, too, considering that these teams are not directly led by us, they are used to handling government customers (a different breed), and they might feel ‘put-upon’?” You can see her key considerations, which ultimately shaped her intuitive reaction to her dilemma.

Once she had resolved this question, she created two Ying and the Yang “bookends.” These are two extreme options which would ultimately frame her most plausible options, as well as stimulate her intuition to be as creative as possible. Her two were: “Just leave things as they are,” and at the other end, “Put together a full-blooded Commercial Customer Service training module.” In our Latest Example we show why these were the least workable.

At this point, she was ready to figure out at least five credible options. By finding at least five, she reached her limits of reasonable options. One of her five was: “Develop training framework: then pursue on an ad-hoc basis”…option A. See her other four options in our Latest Example.

We then spent twenty minutes discussing some other issues, as a way of involving emotional distancing, while her option solving picture was turned over. When we turned it face up, she briefly reviewed it and made her choice. We then discussed her next steps while the whole issue was uppermost in her mind.

Please refer to the Latest Example to view the overall picture of a potential solution. If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Using Option Solving to decide on ‘Handling the marketing role myself?’” You’re your COMMENTS or go to peter @ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

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