A Managers Role in Customer Service
As a small business owner, your job is to motivate your staff to provide the best quality of customer service possible. It seems like an easy statement, but anyone who's been in the game a while knows, it's easier said than done. Getting your staff motivated to provide quality customer care starts with you. By setting the right example and reinforcing basic principles, you can lead your team to customer service greatness. In fact, customer service managers who positively engage with their team regularly see better results than those who don't. Here are seven ways to positively engage with your staff and build a great customer service team. We, at Wide Merchant Group have adopted policies and fomented practices that keeps us running our business like a family business. The following are tips that have helped us create a friendly office environment that have reverberated to the great level of customer service that we provide.
A lot of focus is often placed on the initial job training. You bring in a new hire, show them daily procedures, and after a short period, turn them loose. But, how often are those initial training elements reinforced? How often is your new hire given a refresher? Having a quick sit down with each employee to discuss their concerns regarding policies, procedures, or product can alleviate many of the elements that lead to customer unhappiness. While sending your employees to a customer service workshop may be a costly solution, for many small merchants this can very well be an investment worth every penny. As a business owner, this is an investment that we, Wide Merchant Group will recommend our merchants to make, if they want to increase sales. Oftentimes a sale opportunity may be missed because a poorly trained employee was not trained to see that opportunity. Even if it is something most people take as common knowledge, giving that added attention to a specific problem can put your employee's mind at ease and allow them to move forward with confidence.
Patience is a virtue for any person. But when your job entails dealing with angry customers as well as employees, patience is a must. It's important to remember everyone's learning curve when dealing with employees. Meaning some employees will pick up on tasks and policies quicker than others. Some employees will require a little more patience and understanding. The same goes with customers. Some customers a manager will encounter will have an issue that is easily solved. However, in other cases, a manager will need to muster all the self-control possible in an effort to resolve an issue. In both, the employee and customer scenarios, the level of patience a manager shows will ultimately reflect their ability to handle stressful situations.
Knowledge of product, policies, and procedures are all essential to a customer service manager. Customers will not accept you as a manager if you cannot convey your authority through knowledge. And, more importantly, you cannot expect your staff to respect you as a leader if you cannot assert your authority through knowledge. If your staff is having an issue learning a new technique, they need to be able to rely on your teaching to guide them. You must not only know a product or procedure but also be able to teach it to a multitude of learners.
Communication is a way for two people to reach the greatest understanding. When you communicate with your staff regularly, you can work to avoid common pitfalls of customer service teams. This skill goes beyond communicating product knowledge, policies, and procedures. Communicating weaknesses, strengths, and expectations gives you and your employees a common ground on which to grow. Through weekly sit downs, you each can have a clear understanding of what to work on, what to keep the same, and what is expected in a set time frame. Ultimately you and your staff will be better at communicating simple and more complex tasks and procedures to each other and to customers.
Empathy in management is the ability to connect with your employees on a deeper level. This deeper connection works to build loyalty, appreciation, and trust. An employee who feels appreciated and valued is more likely to stick around than others. They will put in more work. They will have a happier attitude. And best of all, they will encourage others to follow suit. Taking a few minutes during your weekly sit-downs gives you this opportunity to build that trust. You can learn what drives each employee. What they dislike most about working and what their favorite part of the day is. When you know what triggers each employee, you can work to provide a better workplace for them. A happier workplace makes for happier employees. They will want to come to work and actually work. In turn, customers will receive the best service. This can make your workday easier too.
Lead by Example
When you're raising children, no matter what you say, they will follow your lead. Employees are no different. If you come across as brash or rude, your employees will do the same. If you don't take the time to learn products or procedures, your employees won't either. If you fail to help a customer with the simplest of requests, you cannot expect your employees to either. It all comes down to your inner desires. If you want a top notch customer service team, you have to act like you want it. You have to be willing and able to jump in when lines get long or product gets backed up. You must be willing to stay late or come in early when an employee calls out or shows up late. You must know and understand the value of each position before you can be a great leader.
Even with a well-trained team, a customer service manager will endure an angry customer. These moments are the ones that test you most. You have to find a way to appease the customer without selling out your staff. (Provided your staff didn't do anything majorly wrong). It's a tough spot to be in, but it's your job to deal with it. If you remain calm, actively listen to the customer's complaint, apologize, and proceed with a plan, most of the time you can resolve any issue.
Customer Service Manager Rewards
For many retail employees, the job they're hired to do is not something they've spent their entire lives hoping to do. They don't wake up in the morning excited to fold clothes or pour coffee all day. They MAY, however, love working with a group of people who respect them. They may love working with a great manager who values their opinion. A manager who incorporates these seven skills into their customer service training is rewarded with a great staff that respects and admires their efforts. They have a better working environment and ultimately a better work experience.
“Evaluating the situation allows a person to discover some flaws and imperfections that may make them feel a bit uncomfortable, but that simply means they're growing.”