If you want to remove the parking brake that is holding your organization back from reaching its best growth and potential, your job as a leader is to develop your employees with skills, and remove obstacles that get in the way of them serving their colleagues and customers.
There have been millions upon millions of dollars spent around the globe on employee engagement and improving customer service. In my experience the missing ingredient to unlocking your employees’ discretionary energy and providing your customers with better service is enabling your employees with the skills needed to excel today and the development needed to advance tomorrow.
When you deliver skills that increase the competency of your workers, they will become more engaged and energized and will be more knowledgeable and able to provide better service for your customers.
As a leader, you want to hire people who are smarter than you and who have a passion for growth and learning. If you think about it, your employees should know more about their areas of specialization than anybody else, and their decisions are likely to have an impact throughout the company. That is why it is crucial to invest in their skills and competencies, so they can make smart decisions on behalf of your company and provide their colleagues and customers with amazing service.
Here are 6 ways to skill up your workers for service:
- Provide engaging learning to develop skills that make your employees more marketable, ideally internally, but maybe someday externally.
- Remove obstacles and bad or outdated policies that can negatively affect employee enablement. Learn more about how to become a Chief Obstacle Remover in this video.
- Leverage your employees’ distinct abilities and ensure the right people are in the right roles.
- Focus on giving your employees non-monetary rewards such as career growth and recognition programs. This will incentivize and motivate them to practice and use their skills with their colleagues and customers.
- Provide life skills that will differentiate your employees in any role they are in. Life skills, often referred to as ‘soft-skills’ are what differentiate humans from robots. These are the skills that help create personalized, authentic interactions with colleagues and customers.
- Layer in skills over time, with a focus on follow up, reinforcement and action planning. If you repeat and reinforce your learning, they will be able to access their skills when they need them.
Now that you know why it’s important to skill up for service, read more about the Top 4 Things Your Employees Want From Their Learning Program.read more
Creating customer loyalty requires that you first have great internal experiences. That’s right, customer loyalty first starts with creating employee loyalty.
Here are a few ways you can earn your employee’s loyalty by helping them to feel fulfilled in their jobs:
- Give them opportunities to learn and grow,
- Give them the autonomy to make good decisions within the values of your organization
- Give them recognition and rewards for their exceptional achievement.
Employee loyalty cannot be just a once a year program. You have to be LOYAL about creating loyalty. This means recognizing and engaging your employees at every touch point. Remember, every person in your organization can and does impact the customer experience and thus, customer loyalty.
Once you have earned your employee’s loyalty, next comes earning your customer’s loyalty.
At every touch point with your organization your customers judge the experience on three levels:
- How well you meet or exceed their expectations,
- How fast and flexible you are to do business with,
- How enjoyable you are to do business with.
A key to earning your customer’s trust, is delivering consistent and memorable service. When you deliver consistent service, it will give your customers the confidence that they will receive the same or better level of service, and so begins the journey of trust with you and your organization.
To earn your customer’s trust, you must be sure to be honest and open with them. Tell the truth, even when you must admit you are wrong. Honesty builds trust and leads to loyalty.
The difference between a company’s success and failure is almost always driven by customer loyalty. When you create loyalty with your customers it will make them stay longer, buy more, and positively refer others to buy from you. It is far less expensive to keep your existing customers than to acquire new ones. So be sure to focus on delighting your existing customers, and I promise, your loyal customers will grow.
To delight your existing customers, make sure that you honor your commitments, and make a personal commitment to owning your customer’s outcome. That is why employee loyalty is a critical first step in building customer loyalty. When your employees are loyal and committed to your organization, they will feel a personal commitment to assuring their customer is taken care of. For more information on how to build loyal employees first, check out How to Keep Your Employees and Attract New Ones.read more
One of the biggest challenges that every organization faces today is having a consistently exceptional experience across all service channels in order to grow and retain their customers. Customers service nowadays is expected to be an omni-channel experience.
With the growth of technology, customers are demanding flexible touch points more than ever, no matter which individual they are interacting with. All customers want fast, friendly, hassle-free experiences regardless of the channel or touchpoint they are dealing with.
What this means for your organization is that you must improve your service at every touch point and through every channel by proving fast, friendly, personalized, hassle-free interactions that make your customers stay longer, buy more and refer others.
Take a minute to do a quick check in of your omni-channel experience. What is your customer experience like on mobile/desktop/tablet/in store/on the phone? What obstacles are in the way of your employees proving your customers a fast, friendly hassle-free experience through each of these channels? As a leader, how can you remove those obstacles?
Here are 5 check-in points to improve your omni-channel customer experience. Ask yourself these questions for each service channel:
- Do you communicate clearly and effectively?
- Do you create personalized experiences?
- Do you honor your commitments?
- How do you deal with customer service recovery?
- Do you work to continuously improve your customer experience?
For more information on how to remove obstacles in your internal service channel so you can have exceptional external experiences read Your Customer Service is Only as Great as Your Internal Service.read more