Errol Allen identifies some key ingredients for successfully managing the customer experience.
When leaving a recent lunch with a good friend, I witnessed something that I personally had never seen before. The manager of the restaurant was loudly chewing out a waiter – right in front of customers! My friend and I were both taken aback by this behavior.
What level of service did the manager expect the waiter to deliver after receiving a public tongue lashing?
Let’s look at some of the key management skills needed for creating great customer experiences.
Communicate Respectfully – In the above mentioned example, the manager’s behavior was most disrespectful to the waiter.
Managers must be mindful to remember that employees are people and not machines. If you disrespect a machine by not recognizing its need for maintenance or adhering to proper operating procedures, it too will soon cause anguish via being less productive and eventually becoming non-productive! Humans are the same. Strive to always preserve their dignity as people.
When it becomes necessary to issue a reprimand, do so in a manner which allows the employee to receive it. Stick to the facts of the situation. Never, ever reprimand an employee in front of peers or customers. Doing so is sure to result in a decreased level of service provided to customers.
Take Responsibility for Employee Success – It’s often been said that employees must be responsible for their success within an organization.
In my opinion, managers are responsible for the success of those they manage. This mindset is critical when those you are responsible for interact directly with customers. Make sure that your management skills repertoire includes the ability to create skilled employees.
Is your team receiving adequate training? How much time are you spending with employees to insure they are able to successfully apply the training to their everyday tasks? Now I can hear some managers say “I’m too busy to spend time with my employees.” My response to that is – Take a look at what is keeping you busy. Are you busy putting out fires? Are you busy returning calls or visiting upset or unhappy customers?
Spending time with your employees might result in a decrease in your fire fighting duties. These are opportunities to insure tasks are handled properly as well as to identify additional training needs. In addition, your employees will appreciate the personal attention!
Recognize and Reward Excellent Service – Make it a point to identify and celebrate the positive aspects of employee performance.
Customers are the beneficiary when managers take the time to let employees know how they are positively contributing to the success of the company. When employees are recognized for their positive actions, high morale is usually not too far behind. An atmosphere of high morale results in customers receiving a high level of service.
Develop performance standards that encourage employees to provide great service to both external and internal customers. Make sure that speed is not the primary factor in your standards as this will surely encourage a lower quality of service received by customers.
Take all of the factors that are important to customers into consideration when developing performance criteria. Doing so insures that you are rewarding employees for creating great customer experiences. Make a big deal out of rewarding excellent service!
As a manager, always remember that you are ultimately responsible for both the customer’s and your employee’s experience. Think about Communicating Respectively with employees, Take Responsibility for Employee Success and Recognize and Reward Excellent Service. These three simple steps for employee management will certainly create great customer experiences.
About the Author
Recognized as “one of seven useful Twitter people for retailers to follow” by Mystery Shopping Experts of the UK, Customer Service Speaker, Author and Consultant Errol Allen utilizes his 25+ years of practical hands on experience to assist organizations in developing customer service strategies for maximum customer retention. Errol believes that a systems mindset is critical to an organization’s success in providing great customer experiences.