Providing a good customer experience is expected of any organization. We live in an era where exceptional customer experience is considered as a great differentiator for any company. Any company that ignores this fact is bound to experience a down-turn in its revenues sooner or later. And the most critical component for delivering a great experience is the front-line employees. They are the face of your company. The sum of the front line employees’ interactions with your customers determines your customers’ loyalty. So, there is no doubt that it is vital to invest in the tools, systems and people to empower your front line. But how can this be achieved?
Here are a few tips to empower your team to deliver extraordinary customer experience:
It should flow from the top:
Employees imitate what their leaders do. If the top management isn’t focused on the customer service, then the employees wouldn’t be, either. The top management should break hierarchical barriers to ensure the voice of the front line employees is heard. They need to listen to the issues, identify patterns and work on solutions to solve them.
It also helps if top management gets its hands dirty by spending time directly serving the customers, listening to their complaints. This is one of the common practices in a lot of customer focused companies. For example, at Amazon it is mandatory for every employee (even the CEO) irrespective of which department they are in to spend time providing customer support at help desk. Such activities help employees think from customers’ shoes. It also helps employees to take initiatives that would make the life of the front line easier.
Tools make it easier for employees to interact with customers and solve their problems quickly and efficiently. For example, a tool, which has a history of the interactions of the company with the customer, can help the employee understand how to deal with that particular customer. And imagine how excited the customer would be if you check on his experience with the handling of the previous complaint and whether it was satisfactorily resolved.
However, keep in mind that you don’t cause a technology fatigue for your team by using too many tools.
To ensure that, take the following into account while making use of technology:
- Single source of customer information
- Collaboration and communication among the teams across the company should be possible
- Ease of use
Also, try to roll out the implementation of such tools in a phased manner so that you understand whether the employees are able to adapt to the system easily.
Reward your employees:
In a recent survey done by Glassdoor at a career site, nearly 81 percent of the employees said that they are ready to work harder if their boss shows appreciation for their work. Nothing goes a long way to motivate the employees than a simple pat on the back or a thank you for the efforts that they have put in. Most customer focused organizations recognize the need for this and they ensure that the employees are rewarded. For example, First Direct Bank has a feature on their intranet called ‘Online thank you system’. Through this, any employee can thank any other employee for anything. The CEO uses the feature extensively to write thank you notes to the employees who went out of their way to help other employees.
But the incentives can be used to encourage healthy competition among various customer service teams or front line employees. Reward the teams/employees which do well. Check with your employees about the incentives that they desire and ensure that the organization is fair and open about who is rewarded with the incentives. There are a lot of cases where organization wasted thousands of dollars on the incentives that their employees are not even interested in.
It has become a common practice to collect a feedback after any transaction. This is a really good practice but also ensure you do the following too. Make this feedback public among all the employees. Employees need to be aware of what’s going on and why the customers are unhappy. Also, good work done by a few of the employees motivates others to perform well.
At the top level, ensure that you analyse the feedback (or if you are using a feedback solution like Omoto, it gives you the comprehensive reports on its dashboards), look at the patterns and solve the recurring issues.
If each team member/employee is committed enough, and works in unison towards the goal, your organization is bound to be the champion in delivering extraordinary customer experience consistently. As a result, customer loyalty grows, and so does your company. Being a leader, it is your role to kindle enthusiasm in your employees by encouragement and appreciation.
Has your organization successfully adopted to other ways to ensure the same? Let us know in the comments section!