Each year, thousands of companies around the world celebrate Customer Service Week during the first full week in October.
Although the 2019 Customer Service Week theme is “The Magic of Service," strategies to improve customer service go beyond magic.
In fact, the role of the team leader in customer service is significant, and certain leadership principles are critical to a company's efforts to recruit and retain customers. I break down a few of those principles below.
Teams as Extensions of a Brand
Strong leaders understand that building and communicating a memorable brand is an essential piece of customer loyalty. However, when it comes to brand identity, many organizations “set it and forget it."
Instead, leaders should take steps to evaluate the company's current value proposition, analyze how it stacks up to the competition and vet it to ensure authenticity and consistency with actual company practices. Then, they can select team members who complement one another in embodying the brand, and reward employees who display and share core brand attributes. (For example, savvy leaders know that customer service representatives who dress fashionably and speak articulately will bolster a sleek, on-trend and forward-thinking brand.)
Commitment to Quality Customer Service
Customer Service Week can present a fresh opportunity to recommit to quality service from the top down. Ideally, leaders reinforce stellar customer service on a regular basis through company-wide messaging and activities. They have outlined what customer service looks like in their organization and strive to improve on measured results.
Leaders are also willing to invest in adequate staffing, equipment and software so they set representatives up for success, and know how to leverage new technologies to facilitate omnichannel communication and strategic automation with the goal of offering faster and more targeted customer service.
Focus on the Employee Experience
The employee experience—or what a company's people do and how they feel over the course of recruitment, onboarding and performance—is a necessary focus for customer-oriented leaders.
Strong leaders must keep their eyes on big picture business objectives while recognizing that evolving market forces require more frequent adaptations than in the past.
For instance, good leaders facilitate a hiring experience that attracts employees with the right combination of skills and traits to excel in customer service. And, leaders who support an employee experience that highlights collaboration and continuous learning via applicable training may have more customer-savvy team members.
Just like customer service is an attitude, so is agility. Strong leaders must keep their eyes on big picture business objectives while recognizing that evolving market forces require more frequent adaptations than in the past.
Leaders may not only want to consider designing customer-facing processes that make it easier to respond to changing requirements in real time, but also empower representatives to make in-the-moment decisions and innovate on behalf of a customer. Rigidly constructed policies aren't the hallmark of good leadership or service, so this Customer Service Week, perhaps take the opportunity to rethink them.
Beyond Customer Service Week, effective leaders show up for employees and customers alike. This means putting in face time at your place of business, conversing with staff and clients and paying attention to small details like birthdays and professional moves.
Even if a leader has the most competent frontline employees imaginable, there's no substitute for an owner who takes the time to get to know and spend time with the people who matter to the business. Hosting team-building outings and customer appreciation events provides an excellent forum for owners to interface with the community and humanize their enterprises.
There are a variety of ways to improve customer service, but this Customer Service Week, consider the role that solid leadership and team building plays in driving it. By honing agility and visibility and placing a spotlight on branding, employee experience and commitment to quality service, you'll be on your way to providing great customer service.
Read more articles on customer engagement.
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