The single most effective way to truly engage with staff and customers is to literally do their job with them.
This is not a time to judge or evaluate performance unless a true issue emerges. This is the time to understand what your team encounters every day in their responsibilities. Doing this will give you a sound framework for many business decisions.
Think of the show Undercover Boss. Many of these leaders had no idea of some of the challenges their teams faced in performing their everyday responsibilities. Sometimes it was lack of training, antiquated equipment, software programs that don’t speak to each other, logistical issues adding time to completing tasks, etc.
Sometimes it was the workload. Some found that the workload of each member had increased to the point that no one task was ever done well. Some found that there was no possible way that every single responsibility could be performed in the allotted time of a standard workday.
And the real eye-opening moments came when the boss’s found that customers were part of the issue. Sometimes the customers were rude and inappropriate, so the boss empowered the staff by training them better on how to handle upset customers with phrases to empathize and how to maintain control of their own emotions. Sometimes they realized that customers were expecting things to happen at the frontline staff level that needed to be handled by management. A few handled this by empowering staff more and by making sure that managers were readily available to handle the request.
Bottom line: spend time with your staff. Understand what they do and how they do it. Understand the mental processes required. Doing so gives you an accurate base when making decisions that will eventually impact your team.
When staff trusts that you care and understand them and their responsibilities, they’ll trust you more as a leader. They’ll be more engaged in their responsibilities and customers will experience staff who truly believe and can deliver on the intended Customer Experience.
About the Author
Kristina Evey is improving the way companies connect with their customers and increase their profits, she is an accomplished speaker and trainer on Customer Satisfaction and Retention.