Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Bruce Wahl. His opinions are his own.
Employees, not big ideas and fat budgets, are the glue that holds organizations together. The key to delighting customers is in providing stellar service and an amazing customer experience. Simply put, these tasks are virtually impossible to take on without the eager, capable, and motivated manpower.
What you need in order to facilitate this scenario is an impeccable hiring policy, but also strategies for engaging and retaining talent. Some say that you should treat your employees like your best customers, and they are quite right: It is high time the workers were put back in focus in order to achieve a truly customer-centered business.
1. The consumer is king
Like it or not, in this day and age, the consumer is king. However, business people and marketers have turned this concept on its head. Namely, they try to build glorious towers on quicksand by neglecting the human foundations. Some of them go to great lengths to create a sound customer service strategy, but fail to hire the right employees to carry them out. Others are not able to evolve and make employees happy, which has a negative effect on loyalty and happiness. Naturally, dissatisfied employees are less productive and efficient.
2. Customers crave the human face of a business
In the tumultuous digital age, people still crave to see the human face of a business. In fact, this sentiment may be more important than ever, amidst all the virtual hustle and bustle. No amount of chatbots and FAQ sections on a company’s website can make up for the lack of human touch. Interestingly enough, studies show that establishing an emotional connection with customers makes a difference even when their problems are not solved. Also, 76% of customers claim that customer service is the best way to determine whether a business cares about them or not.
3. Poor customer service will cost you big time
It is staggering how much a misguided hiring strategy can cost you. Billions of dollars are lost in the US alone due to poor customer service. Furthermore, around 62% of global customers state that they have switched loyalty after a negative experience with company employees. Staying ahead of the game is a daunting task, though. Customers can be rude and unpleasant, but in a sense, they are always right. Therefore, the hiring policies must be aimed at people who have unbeatable optimism and determination to endure all the trials and tribulations associated with delivering a customer experience second to none.
4. When morale is down, service quality suffers
Of course, human and financial aspects are interwoven in more than one way. When the cash flow financing is handled well, and other departments pull their weight, everything in the garden seems rosy. Yet, when financial difficulties strike and sales begin plummet, this reflects on staff morale. External forces may shape businesses, but it is the internal workforce that is always to blame for the fizzle. And when willpower starts to crumble, customer service quality suffers.
5. Focus on personality and customer service traits
When deciding on the right kind of people to bring into a company, many hiring managers make the mistake of focusing solely on skills, experience, and proficiencies. Yes, these elements are important, yet they do not tell the whole story about someone. Thus, business owners and managers have to put just as much of an emphasis on the personality of potential candidates and their customer service attributes. This approach pays off in one more way. The newcomers will fit the customer-oriented culture of the company and will not disrupt the atmosphere.
6. Sometimes enthusiasm should outweigh skills and experience
The best employee is someone who is capable of listening to and empathizing with the consumer. This ability depends on communication skills and emotional intelligence. The chief goal is to add value to the consumers’ lives and solve their everyday problems. A client-facing position in the company should never be filled with someone who is hardworking and ambitious, but lacks compassion, kindness, and sympathy. This mistake could seriously tarnish the reputation of the company.
7. Hire problem solvers
A well-organized customer service methodology empowers companies to react to emerging challenges and sort out any problems down the road. In other words, workers are the first line of defense. They interact with customers the most, mitigate the friction along the consumer journey, and ultimately impact the bottom line. One of the best proofs of this statement is that 74% of consumers in the US are prepared to pay more for products and services from companies that provide good customer service.
Employees are the driving force behind any successful business story. They have the power to shape the consumer experience.
Remember that extraordinary ideas and big promises fall down like a house of cards without people to deliver them. So, strive not only to meet, but also exceed your customers’ expectations. Recruit motivated, passionate, and enthusiastic talent and you will make a great leap towards business greatness.