I am obsessed with customer service and always have been. I think it stems from my high school years working in retail, the continuation of my career in the retail industry and later moving into healthcare where there can be no more important a customer than a patient who needs care or lifesaving medication.
Whether it is front line service in a retail store or a business partnership with a supplier or service provider, I always have high expectations, which unfortunately, are not always met. Having said that, I can guarantee that there are no companies out there that set out to provide poor service. So why does it sometimes fall short? What is lost in translation from an organisation’s customer vision to the execution of that vision.
Every employee has a role to play in attracting and retaining customers. Every employee touch point (similar to the marketing reference - moments of truth) in your organisation can affect the customer experience. Back office functions can have as big an impact as your sales & marketing and frontline service teams.
What can you and your employees do to attract and retain more customers?
How do you achieve this through your people?
A well written job ad will attract the right candidates with the required attributes and skills to deliver to your customers. Effective screening, shortlisting and interview techniques will narrow down the list to those best suited to deliver to your customers. Finish off with pre-employment checks to reduce the risk of making the wrong hiring decision.
Policies and procedures
Employment policies and procedures set the expected standards of behaviour. How your employees behave at work and treat their fellow employees can have a direct impact on customer service.
Learning and development
Increasing employee capability has obvious benefits for customers. Knowledgeable employees have the capability to perform better and are more productive and engaged. Learning can range from company information, process, systems, product and technical skills to personal development courses. A learning organisation creates a culture of sharing information and minimises the risk of relying on a few key employees.
Providing employees with regular feedback and coaching on their performance will boost performance and engagement. Seeking feedback from employees on customer requests, process inefficiencies and improvement ideas will provide greater insight into your customers wants and needs. Don't forget the old adage "you get what you measure" and recognise employees whose efforts have a positive effect on customer service levels.
Employees thrive when they understand how their job, and what they do, contributes to the organisations objectives. Make the link obvious on how each employee has a direct impact on customers.
The design of jobs and staffing structures is also important to ensure that internal processes do not hinder the customer experience but rather have a positive contribution.
Safe work environment
A safe work environment (physical and psychological) will reduce absenteeism, minimise costs and maximise productivity.
Engaged employees put in more discretionary effort and are more likely to go above and beyond for customers.
A professional employee offboarding process will go a long way to ensure that if an employee leaves they will not bad mouth the company or its leaders and hence damage the reputation of the organisation.
An integrated approach
There are many facets to attracting and retaining customers beyond the sales and marketing process. An integrated approach encompasses all components and a view that every employee contributes to the organisations customer objectives. Your people are your competitive edge.
We can work with you to set up or build upon HR systems and processes to harness the talents of your people. Contact me via our contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org