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Monday, September 2, 2013

Why do People Hired to Serve Customers Oftentimes Neglect Those Customers?

First there are many awesome customer service stories out there that prove delivering a great customer experience is not dead. I have my thoughts about why people providing customer service become calloused to their job of delighting the customer. The reasons are always found in the boardroom.

It is all about motivation! I believe we can all agree that money is a poor motivator however it has been proven that until you reach a base point money does effect attitude. There are raging debates currently going on about increasing the minimum wage to reach that estimated base point or somewhere at least in the neighborhood. I have seen statistics stating 89% of consumers say they will pay more for better service (RightNow Technology 2010 Customer Services Report). Does that mean getting a McDonald's hamburger too? So if your employees have that base point salary how do you then get them motivated to focus on great customer experiences? People generally do what they get measured against. Are you measuring your people on how delighted your customers are or attainment of your weekly sales goals? Do you even go farther to demonstrate through a recognition program the best employees based on customer feedback? Rewarding employees for the behavior you want to see is how a culture is created. It first starts however with leadership demonstrating by doing not just mandating the desired behavior. Remember the saying, “Do as I say not as I do”? “Lead by example” is the proven way to get your people to behave the way you want. The first place to look as leaders is in the mirror and then to ensure everyone in the company is on the same page.

Which brings me to the next point, what page are we on exactly? Having a vision and charter are absolutely necessary, but having a way to train and constantly reinforce how you deliver that vision is even more critical. Having the vision on a poster in headquarters is of no value if everyone is not bought into the passion of delivering that vision. With all the advances in today’s technology I personally believe the tools you need to hire, train and communicate with your frontline people is THE most important investment you need to be making. Having order on the web and pick up at the store capabilities do you no good if your people do not have the education and tools to make sure when that customer comes into the store all is ready.

When employees are properly led, compensated, educated and rewarded they will be motivated and passionate. They will also feel that magic of helping people and making them feel special! All of these things then begin to feed on themselves perpetuating the culture of delivering great customer experiences.

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