Most employees either contribute to value-added operations around the offering, or they interface with prospects and customers facilitating transactions. Although we’d love to have the people in the shop demonstrating customer-led behaviors, the ones with direct interface, at any level, are the ones with the greatest individual responsibility for customer retention.
Engineer the customer experience
Large companies have legions of mostly well-trained customer service representatives that exist simply for the purpose of providing customer/company interface. Examples include your online car insurer, or your last call with a product complaint to a company like Apple. These folks are supposed to epitomize their brand. And, for the most part, it works.
Where companies start getting into trouble is when their front line people are also responsible, in part or in whole, for the delivery of the product or service. When the job involves sincere smiles and production efficiency the likelihood of missed objectives increases. Consider the unconcerned appliance repairman that fixes the dishwasher but leaves a mess behind.
Empower employees as “Ambassadors of the Brand”
Customer/company disconnect is most prevalent in smaller companies where – without much training – employees engage the customer and perform the service. Generally, little consideration is given to enriching the customer’s experience, whereas this is often a core component of the training protocol in a more customer-led company.
Operations-led companies are good at the business they are in. Customer-led companies take their operational advantage then add a genuine customer perspective to satisfying expectations. Business leaders looking for ways to improve profits should consider the short and longer term value, and relative low cost, of instilling a more customer-led focus in everyone from the boss on down.
Although customers have service performance expectations for the businesses they encounter, a sizeable number of the employees at these businesses are left to create their own path. Most workers are in need of interpersonal training, require regular stimulation and should be coached as to the objective of every customer interaction. Big dividends in productivity, customer satisfaction and a jump in referrals can be expected when workers that are visible to others have customer-centric guidelines.
Communication is the backbone of a healthy company
The clearer employees are on the ambitions of their organization and what their role is in reaching business objectives, the more engaged they are in the process. The key to unlocking this untapped potential? An inspired leader, a clear process and definite goals.