Customer service is the most important part of any business. The first impression that customers receive is from point people like greeters, cashiers and receptionists. In today’s interconnected world, all it takes to sink a company’s reputation is one bad experience that angers a patron bent on broadcasting their wrath online. A good manager can try to be everywhere at once, but ultimately the key to employee-customer relations lies in your individual workers. To keep your clientele happy, you need to concentrate on three different key strategies: proper training, employee satisfaction and effective communication.
Obviously, proper employee training is the most vital part of maintaining positive relationships with your customers. New employees should be well-versed in basic and more complex customer service skills, while established workers should be kept from developing bad habits. Constant instruction in the essentials of client service is crucial in maintaining a successful working environment. Training programs that emphasize rapport, problem solving, attention to detail and creativity in the face of customer interaction will produce a skilled, competent workforce. Also, having employees who are trained to recognize and competently deal with problems like overly chatty clients or threatening customers can improve your company’s ability to weather day-to-day problems.
An often overlooked aspect of good customer service is the feelings of employees themselves. Happy employees make the most effective workers. An employee may be skilled and well-trained, but if they are unhappy or dissatisfied with their job, they may put less effort into their work or even decide to leave your company for greener pastures. Even worse, when you lose one excellent employee, it sometimes triggers a max exodus of other capable staff members. It’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of your workforce. They may have negative feelings about pay, work hours or issues you might not even consider a problem. Customers regularly receive surveys asking for feedback. The same option should be extended to employees. Employee engagement surveys can help you test the waters and find out if your best wage-earners are planning to take their valuable skills elsewhere. Surveys can also help to diagnose cases of low morale within a department or section of your company that could be affecting customer service. Many customers seem to have a sixth sense when the workplace is tense. By ensuring the satisfaction of your employees, you can help increase the quality of customer care.
Communication includes verbal interaction and more subtle hints from body language. Listening is the most important part of communication. When an employee interacts with a customer, listening to their spoken words and observing their body language can help the worker understand and meet their needs more fully. However, proper communication goes both ways in a company environment. In order for an employee to effectively deal with clients and give them correct information, they should be apprised of all changes in company policy and procedures. An employee who gives customers incorrect or out-of-date information through no fault of their own can cause problems down the road when clientele are told something completely different. It’s important that management and supervisors communicate effectively with those under them so they can, in turn, do their job correctly. Every company should have clear channels of communication in place to disseminate updates and policy changes. It is the job of every good manager to make sure that their employees are up to speed on the latest protocols. Without knowledge of current policies and programs, workers cannot effectively assist customers.
Successful customer service is a combination of multiple factors. Employee-customer interaction can be improved by concentrating on several strategies. For effective intercommunication you should focus on providing comprehensive customer service training, upholding employee satisfaction and encouraging communication between clients, workers and supervisors.