As consumers and customers, I’m sure all of us have had both good and bad experiences with customer service. There are businesses and establishments that we remember fondly, usually because someone there went out of their way to make our experience delightful. On the other hand, there are businesses that we would never recommend to a friend and I’m sure you can recount your worst experience in detail, even though it may have been 20 years ago.
As a leader, how do we ensure that our staff are giving the best customer service available? Or, if they are not working in customer service, how do we get them to perform at a level where the organization can excel?
Let me rephrase the question. Is it the employees responsibility to ensure great customer service, or it management and leadership? If I walk into a coffee house and am ignored by the staff while they chat about the party they had last night, whose fault is it?
I think most of you would say it is a shared responsibility. I agree to a certain extent. However, the bottom line lies with management. If I have a poor experience, I can certainly point the finger at whoever was providing it. However… why is this employee working there in the first place?
My point, your employees are disengaged because… management is disengaged
If you have employees who are disengaged, it is time to face reality. You and your management team are the root cause, not the employee. Here are some suggestions on how to fix this problem.
- Take a look at your managers first. How engaged are they with their staff? Assess their leadership skills and also their commitment to spending the time necessary to develop their staff.
- Get you managers on a leadership development program,
- Assess your process for weeding out poor performers. If you’ve never let someone go for poor performance, you’re not doing your job as a leader or manager.
- Look at the organization’s efficiency in casting vision and focusing on mission. If your employees aren’t excited, perhaps it’s because they have nothing to be excited about?
- Assess your performance standards. If these aren’t clear, or aren’t being enforced, then who can blame the employee for not meeting them.
- Put all your employees on a performance improvement plan. Yes… everyone. We can all improve in certain areas. Take you top performers, and help move them to the next level by getting them trained for leadership, and ensure you give them opportunities for advancement.
If you put these things in place, I guarantee that you will see an improvement in customer service and performance at your organization.
All the best!
All the time!