Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs
If you ask the average person what their opinion of customer service is in this day and age, they’ll tell you that good service is a thing of the past. It’s an interesting phenomenon that in a time when companies offer instant access to assistance, one-click ordering and nearly as many product and service options as a person could ever think of, we see service as declining. One could blame all of this instant access for the rush of overly demanding customers, but the view is a bit different from where we sit in our HR offices. There’s no denying that we as consumers expect more than ever for everything from intangible services to groceries but there’s more to this story and it lies in what companies are doing behind the scenes.
Most customers won’t consider what has changed within these companies that would affect the attitudes, helpfulness and knowledge of employees, but this is a major factor for why employees are providing poor service. For companies that want to improve their service, focus first on your employees and the customers will reap the benefits.
Engaged employees care about their customers
The most significant way you can improve service and make a difference on the customer experience is to have engaged employees. Numerous studies have shown that engaged employees are far more productive than their non-engaged peers. They are also more willing to go the extra mile for customers even when there is no incentive for them to do so. They are advocates for your brand and not only fulfill their job duties but also are known to actually brag on your company – both at work and outside of it.
There is a lot that goes into developing an engaged workforce, but you can start by implementing an engagement study to see what employee sentiment really is and where you might need to make improvements.
Well-trained employees are knowledgeable
Training employees is an investment, but it is one that definitely pays off. Companies that have robust training programs are less likely to lose their employees than companies without, giving your organization a chance to retain employees that become experts over time. Launch or enhance your training program to enable your employees. In addition to equipping your employees with the tools and knowledge they need to assist customers, you’ll also help to improve morale and have happier employees.
Employees who enjoy their jobs are there when your customers need them
It’s a fact that engaged employees spend less time away from work than their non-engaged counterparts. They’re not just taking vacation days but also sick days, which means that you not only are in the position to find someone to field their customers’ inquiries during that time but also must do so on short notice. This can lead to employees being stretched too thin, unreasonable workloads, employees not being equipped to help customers if it’s not their area of expertise and ultimately, unsatisfied customers. When your employees are engaged, they are more likely to be present when your customers need them. Additionally, engaged employees are less likely leave your company, resulting in lower turnover overall.
Employees who think long term are invested in your company’s success
Employees who see their time with your company as a long-term prospect rather than a short stop along the way are invested in the overall success of the company. This means that they do whatever needs to be done to assist a customer the right way, even if that means being inconvenienced. Essentially, this type of employee does what is best for them and the company in the long term instead of doing what feels good or easiest at the moment. Help your employees adopt this perspective by outlining career paths, offering mentorship programs, developing a leadership academy and maintaining an ongoing conversation about growth, improvement and career development between managers and employees.
What behind-the-scenes improvement do you believe makes the biggest difference in customer service? Let us know in the comments section below.
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