During recent shopping trips in a few of the national big-box retail chains I noticed they all had one thing in common – multiple employees walking around with a broken smiler. You know, that thing between your nose and chin that is supposed to show you are having a great time at your workplace and you want to help people. Your smiler! I assumed their smilers were broken because why would so many people want to be someplace that makes them unhappy. To be fair, in a place that employs large amounts of people you are going to occasionally find one or two that are not having a great day. Totally understandable – that’s life. What I have been seeing are people in all areas of the store that are not enthusiastic about being at their job. The outward expression of their emotions range from grumpy to apathy. If employees are a reflection of the company’s attitude towards service and its culture, what is this saying about these companies? Why would I want to do business with an organization that has this culture? What about my employees? What do the visitors at my business think about their customer service experience? Here are a few things to consider when examining your customer service.
Create A Positive Culture
Employees thrive in a positive culture, that’s just a fact. One of the first steps to ensure you have a positive culture in your business is to create an environment that promotes success. Make sure you have comprehensive training programs in place and that continued learning is expected from each member of your team. Promote and encourage constructive communication within your team. If there are customer service issues, and there will be, make sure you share it with the appropriate team members and use it as a learning experience.
Make it a habit to constantly get feedback from your employees and your customers – especially those that might have something negative to say. If you get a customer complaint, if the opportunity presents itself, have a dialogue with the customer about ways they can improve their experience. While they might not be in the most positive frame of mind, they may be willing to give you constructive feedback.
Another great way to get feedback is to use a secret shopper. Certainly there are very capable companies out there that provide this service, but you can also enlist family and friends to help you out. Whether they call in and ask a few questions or visit your location, they can give you a great idea of how your team works when you are not there. As I said before, make sure you share the feedback with your team – good or bad. It’s a great opportunity to use each of these experiences as a training opportunity.
Build Your Team
Do you have the right players on your team? Are your employees a positive representation of your brand or would they be better off as an actor in a zombie movie? Not everyone is wired to be in the customer service role. There are a multitude of tools you can use to help identify if a candidate is a good fit for your customer service role. Whether you do it through interviews or testing, it is critical to make sure the team members that represent your brand do it in a way that will grow your business. This is not an area where you can afford to take chances. Ask yourself these questions – “If we make someone happy, what are the chances they will tell someone else?” or “If we make someone unhappy, what are the chances they will tell someone else?” I think we all know the answer and it can be pretty scary. Knowing this, think about the team you have in place and honestly evaluate them. Are they the best?
With so much data available to consumers for shopping or comparing prices via their portable devices, when you have someone in your business ready to buy, your number one priority is to make their experience as pleasant as possible. You don’t get many second chances to win a customer and you want them to come back, right? How many team members do you have with broken smilers?
Whether you need help with reviewing your customer service or other areas of your business, a business coach is a great resource to help you grow your business. Contact us today to schedule a free session – we are here to help you!