Mentoring for Business Success from Customer Perspective

“Leaders should influence others. In such a way that it builds people up, encourages, and educates them so they can duplicate this attitude in others.” –  Bob Goshen

For happy customers, it is imperative for any business to have a solid, energetic, and dynamic workforce. It is only through the support of loyal and committed employees that a business could forge ahead, become, and remain successful. However, given the frenzied environment and work related stress that people experience, it would not be possible to maintain the energy and vibrancy of the workforce without consistent effort. It is therefore important for companies to provide mentoring for business success – since as mentioned, only a capable workforce can lead to happy customers, and such customers make businesses successful and profitable.

Mentoring for business success is not something, which works only on the inside of a company. When done properly and consistently, its effects can be perceived by customers too. They would receive better customer service, their questions and problems would receive swifter and more efficient responses, and overall they would see enhancement and improvement. Customers love to work with knowledgeable and dynamic companies – these companies almost guarantee their success.  Mentoring for business success is all about helping new and current employees align to the ‘ways’ of the company. For new employees, mentoring is a way to help them ‘merge’ into the culture of the company, understand the practices, acceptable behaviours, synergies between teams, and the focus the company maintains on its customers.

Given the importance of mentoring for the success of the business, companies train and coach certain people to become mentors to younger professionals and new entrants into the company. This is to ensure that each person within the organization has a similar mind-set, and has the same understanding of the different parts of the company, such that customers see a unified ‘face’ and a cohesive workforce ready to help them with meeting their expectations and fulfilling their needs. As a customer, wouldn’t you want to work with such a company? Mentors provide the necessary guidance and leadership that employees seek, especially if they are new to the company or novices in the business world.

Research and statistics show that companies that focus only on training, are able to achieve about 22% increase in employee performance and productivity. On the other hand, companies that enhanced training with effective coaching and monitoring, achieved about 88% increase in performance of their employees. This is what mentoring for business success means for any size company. Energized employees would be better at everything they do – including serving customers. Every brand makes promises to their customers – spoken and unspoken. Customers are very unlikely to forgive broken promises from a brand / company, and hence delivering top line customer service is more than just a tag line or a nice to have. Every employee in the company must possess basic customer service skills, and the frontline customer facing teams must be adept at the essential skills required for serving customers.

Mentoring for business success from the customer’s perspective, would then be about focused coaching, support, and mentoring to inculcate and cement the critical skills required to serve them well. When a company masters customer service, it would put itself on the fast track to success, customer loyalty and brand advocacy through them. We know that loyal customers translate to an increase in revenue, higher profitability, and a wider range of opportunities. Every company needs new customers, but more importantly they need customers who would ‘stick’, become more profitable, and attract more customers for the company. It is important to remember that within the gamut of mentoring for business success, the focus must remain on building skills, increasing knowledge, and forging creativity. Mentoring is no longer about control, but rather helping people to move ahead, and become smarter.

The fact is that smart and knowledgeable employees would need little or no supervision, and would still be highly productive, possess customer centricity, and rely on knowledge to solve problems and provide answers. Such employees are more confident and less stressed, which in turn makes for a great workplace, where everyone works in unison rather than in silos. It is clear that there is a correlation between energized employees and happy customers, and should not be ignored by companies any longer. We are using the term mentoring for business success since mentoring cannot and does not happen in a vacuum. The success of mentoring depends on the kind of knowledge that the mentor imparts – it must be practical knowledge that can help the mentee understand how to bridge the gaps between theory and actual business processes and practices. It is only then that this coaching would be helpful and would provide the skills necessary for employees to work effectively even in stressful business situations.

We know that customer service is everyone’s responsibility. How does that fit in with mentoring for business success? For starters, unless every employee, including the newbies, have completely accepted and adjusted to the organizational culture, and can focus on customers and their needs, it would be tough for a company to provide outstanding customer service, products, and other offerings. Through mentoring, the experienced people can share their knowledge and wisdom to other employees, help them to find solutions proactively to problems, co-exist in peace with their counterparts in the office, and do their jobs to the best of their ability. If everyone in a company works to their optimum potential, it would be impossible for such a company to provide anything but the best to their customers and other stakeholders.

Proficient and knowledgeable employees soon become confident and highly stable in their area of work. This in turn boosts their morale and efficiency, encouraging them to do more and contribute beyond their assigned job descriptions. This is when employees begin to explore career and personal development opportunities, which in turn makes them even better at what they do, and ready for the next level. The more mentoring and coaching takes place in a company, the easier it would be for the company to plan for succession and develop leaders from within their ranks. Given that mentoring for business success should be an on-going initiative, it is critical for companies to first assess their capabilities on sustaining such a program. Time and effort would be essential from those who would be mentors, meaning that their commitment and buy-in would be necessary before putting together such a program.

While we agree that a mentoring program could be challenging and demanding, its benefits far outweigh the effort. Companies must look at things like high employee turnover, which inevitably does happen when employees are unhappy and stressed. Even if such employees stay with the company, they are most likely to mete out shoddy service to each other and to the company’s customers. Imagine the chaos and customer anger this kind of poor service can unleash.

Mentoring for business success takes time and concerted effort, and it is the onus of a company to recognize the possible benefits and rewards of such a program, and ensure that those called upon to take on the role of mentors, do so with commitment and dedication.

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