Like many things, customer service protocols are mostly still written by white people, for white people. But this doesn’t equip service teams with the full array of customer dimensions and situations they’re likely to be faced with. Consider having the breadth and terminology of protocols regularly reviewed by a diverse set of eyes to ensure they remain current, inclusive and broad enough to cover multi-cultural matters without any unwelcome discomfort.
Tracking shifts in customer demographics will help to highlight the negative impact any DEI asymmetry (e.g. in strategy, in marketing campaigns) is causing to your bottom line. It can also inform possible improvements to customer protocols e.g. by examining complaints for any systematic themes at a demographic level. If 98% of our customers are white and 90% of our complaints are from non-white people, this would be a clear indicator that a business has a customer service DEI issue.
The ultimate insurance policy will always be to ensure the demographics of your workforce at all levels are matched with your target marketplace.
Here in the UK, white men make up 42% of the population and due to globalisation, that number is falling every year. Meanwhile the value of the black pound (£600bn, non-white), purple pound (£274bn, disabled) and pink pound (£6bn, LGBT) continue to rise.
Given the innate uniqueness that’s within all of us, different people need different accommodations, benefits, support and motivation to achieve their full potential… and just to be clear, that includes customers too. You wouldn’t contact native-English customers on Christmas Day, so why are you calling Chinese customers on the first day of the Year of the Tiger?
That’s why we call it Equity, not Equality.
Most workforces no longer reflect the clients that visit their offices, the students that come to their lectures, the patients that need their treatment and the customers that shop in their stores. Real commercial success is delivered when all types of people feel represented and catered to. In customer service, this will be different for everyone.
Is it time to revisit your customer service protocols?