Building teams that can please customers

“As important as what you do is the enthusiasm with which you do it.” – J J Goldwag

The most obvious method to improve your company’s relationship with your customers is to improve customer service to a level of excellence. Irrespective of great products and exceptional staff, the customers will remember the interactions they have with the company through the front-line staff. Therefore, to improve customer service, companies should focus on building teams that can please customers. The customer service teams are the ones who define what your company stands for and the kind of service customers receive.

A company that is focused on building teams that can please customers is a smart company. They would constantly be monitoring these teams and the service being provided and would continually try to better the service the customer receives. The fact is, just like any relationship, the relationship with the customer too needs constant work else it would begin to sag and fall in to a loop of taking the customer for granted. If companies do not focus on building better teams to improve their customer service, they would find themselves competing in the market solely on the basis of price or product. However, customers tend to move from one company to the next looking for better prices and or products but will stay on with a company that provides exceptional customer service and memorable interactions at all times.

The most profitable method and strategy for any business now seems to be on keeping their customers happy consistently and given the economy this strategy proves to be extremely profitable too. When a customer decides to contact a company, they first interact with the customer service staff, and if the company they represent has made a concerted effort in building teams that can please customers, this front-ending team would be able to positively influence the customer. Sounds pretty straightforward and simple! However, building teams that can please customers consistently is a lot harder to do. It is a combination of technical skills, attitude, knowledge base, desire to learn and many more such traits that obviously are not always all present. Many companies seem to forget these details and often don’t meet with the kind of success they had anticipated.

Building teams that can please customers is an intricate and delicate process and must be treated with care.

– Start with getting on board the ‘right people’. This is the most critical stage and must be handled very carefully. To build a team with the right attitude and values, it would be imperative to look beyond experience. The reason being that the person could have a lot of experience but may not necessarily fit in with the vision and culture of your company. The interviewer should be adept at asking questions that would draw out the inherent character and traits of the candidate. Situational based questions like “how would you deal with an irate customer face to face” or “how would you handle a completely new query posed by a customer” or “would you be able to diffuse tension that builds up in the team on an exceptionally rushed day” – would help the interviewer to get a better understanding of the candidate. Certainly better than what is written on their resume and will also give the candidate a better understanding of what is expected.

Additionally, there must be some pointed questions regarding the candidate’s personal interests – their hobbies, the kind of books they read or movies they prefer. The answers to these questions will provide insights as to the kind of values the person has and whether they would be ideally suited to portray the culture and values of the company. A company can only let staff know about their values but it is tough to ingrain them if the person is not someone who already has matching values. It is best to hire people who already embody these values if the focus is building teams that can please customers and be a positive face of the company.

– Build and strengthen the skills of the customer service teams. Without these basic skills every other kind of knowledge will not be of much use in managing and providing for the customer’s needs. Even the best software, technology and social media presence would fall short if your company has missed out on building teams that can please customers. Your customer service teams must consist of staff that are empathetic, courteous, patient, active listeners and highly adaptable. Customers are not expected to conform – they are bound to be impatient, irate, in a hurry and have other traits that may not be exactly easy to handle. However, the best customer service teams will be able to manage all these quirks and still provide each one with the highest possible service at all times, each time. The very nature of customer service involves being ready for unpleasant moments, surprises, rude shocks, moody customers and the likes. If the company has focused on building teams that can please customers, every unexpected event will be a learning process and the teams will only get stronger, better and more proficient in providing the best possible customer service.

– Increase employee engagement and boost morale. Disgruntled employees are unlikely to take care of the customers in the way that reflects high standards. Ensure that regular meetings are held and feedback is sought and provided to understand what make employees tick and what they would like changed. Consider also a suggestion drop box and or an anonymous employee survey to get honest and open feedback from employees. It will surprise you as to how much value employees can add in helping to understand how the work environment can be improved leading to happier staff that in turn will be kind and courteous to customers.

– Building teams that can please customers will mean actually getting these teams to live the values propagated by your company. The values must not be words on a paper alone but should be integral to the way customers are treated and served. Leaders of the company must reflect these values and employees must be treated in the same way that the company expects them to treat the customers. Transparency in dealings means that neither internal nor external customers are misled by false promises and information. Everyone must feel valued, trusted and wanted and when employees know that the company values honesty, they would give it importance too. This would translate to honest interactions with customers. The customer service staff must also reflect empathy. When they can put themselves in their customer’s place they would readily do more to alleviate the problems with the least amount of effort. As employees their problems would also be important to their company who would take the time to resolve their issues. When the issues of the employees are resolved they would be able to focus more on the customers and their issues. Companies must also show their employees that they trust them. This would translate to empowerment and affording the employees the necessary discretion required to make spot decisions that would benefit the customer. Customers are happy, employees are happy and the management is happy since escalations and issues are significantly reduced through this kind of leadership.

– As a company if you have done everything possible and worked hard towards building teams that can please the customer, the only way to know if your strategy worked is to asking the customers directly. Getting customer feedback and using it efficiently can prove to be a major advantage for your company and will also strengthen the teams. If feedback is negative, managers must divulge the information smartly and ask for suggestions from the team as to how best those issues can be mitigated. Positive feedback must be shared with all to reinforce what is right. The key to using customer feedback right is aiming it to keep the team happy, effective and motivated and when the teams see the positive outcomes of treating the customers in the right manner, they will be urged to repeat the results. Building teams that can please customers will ensure that the process of pleasing customers soon becomes a habit that is not easily broken.

Whatever your company decides to do, the central idea must be that customers are the reason you are in business and therefore serving them with excellent levels of customer service should be priority. Building teams that can please customers will not only benefit customers, it would make stronger and more cohesive teams resulting in long term growth and profitability for your company too.

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