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Great employees key to great customer service

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A GREAT company is made of great employees and great employees contribute to a great customer experience.

BYJONAH NYONI

For the past three weeks, I have extensively discussed the power of great customer service.

If you are a leader, I recommend that you look up for those articles online and give them to your team players.

Alternatively, on your routine meetings, use those articles to cultivate a great customer experience.

Customer service is a lifelong process for every company.

Are great employees born with good traits? Or people can be empowered to move from being good to become great?

Yes, some people can be born with natural characteristics that make them exude great customer relationships, but anyone can be trained to become great in customer service.

The first step to having great employees is recruitment. The CV usually tells us of one’s qualifications, but that’s not enough.

I have seen highly educated people bring companies to bankruptcy. So every company must employ the right person.

The employer should now hire people based not only on their qualifications, but personalities as well.

For example, the front office employee is expected to be friendly, kind and welcoming, and you can’t employee who has opposite traits to that.

So, before hiring anyone, a clear job description must be crafted. This shows a detailed list of tasks, responsibilities, and even personality traits.

When you have hired, you have to be clear on the key result areas (KRAs), skills needed and your expectations. This must be comprehensively communicated to the person hired.

Francis Buttle (2009) in the book Customer Relations Management said: “Companies need to be able to identify, recruit, develop and retain high-quality employees who can contribute effectively to the achievement of the company’s CRM (customer relations management) goals”.

When the person has been hired we must look for means to retain them profitably.

Buttle further points out that: “When an employee departs, companies incur the direct costs of replacing that person: search costs, interviewing costs, relocation costs and so on. There may also be indirect costs, such as business lost when customer accounts are not properly serviced.

In extreme cases, employees may take customers with them when they depart. This is common in the advertising industry. When creative staff leaves an established agency to set up on their own, they very often take clients with them” Now, we have to look at critical things that make an employee effective and great.

Encouragement

In a seminar for doctors and nurses in Bulawayo on Wednesday, my fellow speaker, Sithandekile Magida, said the greatest yearning for every human being is love.

Everyone carries this invisible tag written “I need to be loved”.

The best way to express love is by verbalising it through this powerful phrase, “Thank you!”.

Everyone is looking for appreciation, even for a small thing.

John Tschohl (2001: 34) in his book E-service says: “Recognition improves on employee’s self-esteem, which results in increased pride, productivity and loyalty.

Celebrating even small successes on frequent basis motivates employees to do their best and increases their loyalty to you.
A well-deserved word of praise can do much to set the standard for quality service in an organisation and to boost your employees’ self-esteem”

Empowerment

Most employees have hard skills, but they lack in soft skills. Hard skills can land someone a job, but how long they keep it is based on their soft skills.

As soon as you employ a person, it’s dangerous to assume that they know what they should do in line with customer services.

So, the best would be to train them. In fact, customers are affected mainly by our ability to relate well; the soft skill.

These include attitude, empathy, helpfulness, teamwork, interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, relational intelligence, grooming, etiquette and being considerate.

Time and again, employees should be trained as to change mindsets, attitudes and behaviours so as to bolster their hard skills. As a manager, do you have a budget for employee empowerment?

The employee is the greatest asset that must be constantly oiled through empowerment. Your business can be successful to the level of your employee competence.

Engagement

At times, companies have paid dearly for what their employees would have told them. As a leader or manager, you mustn’t be a boss up there, to the detriment of your business.

Communicate with your employees; they know what must be done to increase profits. But this takes you growing a relationship with the employee.

When you communicate with employees, they feel being part of this bigger family and the greater vision.

Remember, you have employed individuals that think. Share your plans, aspirations and the vision of the company.

Open the lines of communication. At times, it’s not that people don’t want to speak to us, but we have not made that effort to connect and bond with them.

Evaluation

Every company must have an evaluation strategy. This measures progress, performance, productivity, and profitably.

This keeps your team players accountable and in line with the goals, objectives and the vision of the company.

End the deal

At times, it is advisable to fire employees who do not meet service standards.

The longer you keep an employee who has bad customer care, the greater the negative impact on your business.

This does not help you, but it also helps them because they might be in a wrong place.

Probably their being ineffective is caused by frustration of not pursuing a true passion.

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