Accountability in customer service is our ability to account for our business actions and decisions. It is our willingness to show our customers that we really do care about them, and carry with this an unspoken pledge to respond to a customer's request for information or help.
Let's assume that employees want to do their best when hired, however a company's ability to create a culture where people are accountable is a daunting task. Without accountability our customer service winds up with the grim consequences of empty promises, excuses and blaming others; most likely the customers. Compare it to being a parent; we help our children through guidance and education to become accountable for their own actions.
In order to create this culture, we then need to think about encouraging and rewarding people for being accountable. We need to nurture different opinions, respect each others points of view and have open communications where people are not afraid to present their opinions. Our front line staff so often sees life as it really is, and can provide informative insights into customer needs.
We also need to develop levels of trust for our customer service representatives. People have to be able to make independent decisions, however these decisions can be based on a team spirit that shares information, and provides feedback for continual improvement. Isn't it up to team leaders and managers to supply the platforms that the customer service representatives can use as models, but still think independently for exemplary customer service?
Learning is the key to acquiring the skills, but working in a supportive environment helps each employee practice and hone their skills. We can never act as if there is a " one size fits all" or that we have all the answers. Discovering new ideas mean fresh outlooks and makes room for expansion.
Finally the willingness to admit mistakes, and allowing others to make mistakes without chastising them can improve accountability. We don't want the customers to suffer because one of our staff has made a mistake and is afraid to admit it; we want to be supportive of that staff member and not throw him under the bus, but educate him how to solve the problem and build a sense of responsibility.