The internal dynamics of your company affects the quality of your customer service and how clients perceive your business. Every interaction with your staff gives customers a sense of how knowledgeable, passionate and motivated your employees are. If you want to attract and retain a healthy client base, you need to focus on the internal culture of your business.
Your company's culture has a big impact on your customer service — and consequently — your productivity and profits. Your employees set the tone for the kind of treatment your customers get and determine the image your business projects, so you need to seek out strategies to develop a positive culture by providing your employees with the support and resources they need.
1. Communicate the Importance of Customer Service
Set an example from the top down to develop a culture of customer service. From the CEO to the new hire, every employee within your organization should know why excellent customer service is important. Provide examples of how customer service strategies impact the bottom line, the longevity of the business and the sales of products and services. Create a sense of loyalty to the customer and bring all levels of management and representatives on the same page regarding the importance of customer satisfaction.
2. Set Clear Expectations
Make customer service a top priority by setting expectations for all employees to follow when interacting with clients, potential customers and even co-workers. Organize brainstorming sessions or meetings to request input from your employees when developing sales scripts or troubleshooting strategies so that everyone feels invested in the goals and strategies of the company. Regular meetings or gatherings also provide employees with the opportunity to clarify procedures, ask questions of upper management and bond with fellow employees. Transparency is the key to developing a positive culture that fosters excellent customer service.
3. Offer Comprehensive Training and Evaluations
It is difficult for employees to succeed if they lack proper guidance and training. Make professional development an important element of your orientation sessions for new hires and weekly or monthly meetings with customer service agents. Provide tips for dealing with difficult customers, set goals for satisfying clients and offer feedback on performance regularly to keep your staff motivated. Have upper-level managers check in with employees regularly to offer further support and guidance and provide specific feedback on performance when needed. This helps build a positive rapport with the staff and improve the morale and culture of the organization.
4. Create Incentive Programs
Even the most efficient and self-motivated employee craves recognition for a job well done. Seek out ways to recognize and reward your employees for going above and beyond when assisting customers. Host celebrations or luncheons to praise employees who have received high marks on customer feedback surveys, or produce a monthly newsletter that highlights innovative strategies and positive results of your employees. Create an incentive program that is based on customer ratings to further motivate and inspire your staff. Acknowledging and praising specific actions of employees is a great way to enhance the culture of the company.
5. Hire Selectively
Unfortunately, negativity is contagious, especially in office environments. If one employee is not supportive of the core values and mission of the organization, the negativity can spread, which ultimately impacts the culture of customer service. If this is an issue within your organization, you need to modify your hiring process. When screening candidates, evaluate not only their skills and experience, but also their enthusiasm and adaptability level. Consider whether or not each applicant fits into the culture of the company. Seek out candidates who are motivated to make a difference and impact the culture and the customer base positively.
To develop a culture of customer service, management and employees must be committed to the goals, mission and vision of the company. Articulate the importance of keeping the customer happy while also working to keep your staff satisfied, fulfilled and motivated. A happy employee is typically more willing to make your customers happy, which is the key to attracting and retaining clients.
Photo Courtesy of aloyr at Flickr.com