In today's online-heavy world, one-to-one interactions between customers and the brands they do business with are becoming less frequent. This is one of the reasons why organizations need to make sure to not only satisfy customers during these dealings, but exceed their expectations.And in order to do this, organizations need to invest in their employees. After all, these are the people who have direct contact with customers, are most likely to understand their needs, and are instrumental in transforming a bad experience into a positive one. Further, frontline workers are the ones who determine whether a customer issue needs to be escalated.
As human beings we are intrinsically wired to want to do the right thing and make others happy. It's not in our nature--or at least the majority of us--to want to irritate others because we know that this will ultimately have a negative impact on us. Customer-facing employees are well aware that a happy customer will make their job easier, not only ensuring less complaints but also leading to easier future interactions. It thus makes sense that employees will strive to do their job well and satisfy their customers.
But, unless organizations recognize the efforts of their service-oriented employees, they risk losing them or, perhaps even worse, leading to these exceptional employees to lose the commitment to delivering great service. As we celebrate the 24th annual Customer Service Week, business leaders need to take an inward look at what they're doing to obtain and retain high levels of employee engagement, ensuring that their staff members--especially customer-facing ones but not only--are happy in their jobs and feel valued.
These endeavors don't need to be taxing on a company's coffers. Sometimes all it takes is a change in attitude by managers who make the effort to thank employees for their good work, pointing out successes and sharing them with the rest of the organization.
Other companies might want to reward their employees with something more tangible. But even here, they don't need to spend a lot of money to ensure that staff members feel that their efforts are appreciated. During a recent conversation with Lisa Cummings, vice president of products at Corporate Visions, she pointed out that one manager asks new employees about their hobbies, favorite colors, and even preferred beverages. Then, every time one of them puts in extra effort, she leaves a small token on the employee's desk. Sometimes it's just a bottle of their favorite soda, but this personalized approach reinforces positive behavior and shows employees that their efforts are appreciated.
Finally, customers prefer to do business with organizations whose employees are happy. After all, a company that doesn't treat its staff members well is unlikely to treat its customers any better. Therefore, not only are happy employees more likely to deliver better service, but they can also leave a positive impact on customers, showing them that this is a company that cares.