3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT February 23, 2009

Michael M. Menyhart leads Fifth Third Bancorp’s customer experience initiatives across its six business lines. He is responsible for customer loyalty and the deployment of brand and experience improvement strategies. Menyhart joined Fifth Third in 2006 with 10 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Where should customer service sit in importance with any company?

It must be at the top. There must be a voice in the senior portions of business that positions customer service with sales. Investing in managers through training and making customer service a core part of business strategy will be a long-term investment in the company. Knowledgeable employees provide better customer service. The training strategy must be reviewed annually in order to evaluate gaps of where you need to be and where you actually are. In the evaluation, you can determine the percent of which you must invest in maintaining and improving customer service.

What does good customer service entail?

We live in a dynamic world, and the definition of good customer service changes frequently. It also means different things to different customers. One-size-fits-all is the wrong approach, so you must be able to meet customers where they want. You need to keep in mind you’re working with different generations and lifestyles. If you meet and exceed what they expect, you can build your brand loyalty through them.

Does the treatment and salary of employees affect the way they treat customers?

Yes. Customer satisfaction should be part of an employee’s compensation. You need to measure customer satisfaction on a monthly basis by polling customers. The way you poll customers can be designed in a way that best suits your business. In the design, there must be a way to hold employees accountable for actions and issues presented. Engaged employees develop and interact with customers, so the treatment managers give employees comes full cycle and shows in customer treatment. You must have an option to advance in the company for employees, so strong performers can continue to develop.