Ensure Your Employees Deliver Excellent Customer Care
No matter how great your product or service is, bad customer service will turn people away from your business. Horror stories from customers can make other potential customers avoid your company entirely or even worse- spread through social networks like wildfire.
What can you do to avoid this? Is there a way to be the best in customer service for your industry?
Training Your Employees
The number one way to avoid giving bad customer service is to properly train your employees.
If they are unaware of what your policies are on certain aspects – such as returns – than conflicting information given to a customer can be considered bad customer service. Employees that must stop to ask for assistance from you (their employer) during customer service calls for every question are not properly trained.
A customer care representative should know what procedures are for most situations and only call on your or a manager if they are stuck or if the customer requests it.
Rude employees are the downfall of most customer service situations.
If an employee is rude to a customer they make your company look bad. Some instances of rudeness are from frustration, which can be dealt with by talking to the employee. Disciplinary action should be taken to ensure the rudeness will not happen again.
If the employee is very rude, to the point that the customer is distraught, then perhaps it is time to evaluate whether or not the employee should be let go. There is no excuse for constant rudeness. Rude behavior can be ignoring customers, talking down to customers, or other bad behavior. Rude employees have no place in customer service. We all have bad days, but more than one mild instance of rudeness is not acceptable.
Giving it Your All
The old adage, the customer is always right, might seem to be overused.
We all have heard of customers or clients that are belligerent. Rude customers are no fun, but by keeping calm, cool, and collected your customer service reps will shine in the eyes of other customers. Sometimes there is no pleasing a customer or client. These types will not be happy with any company – but still supply them with the best of customer care. Negative people are the loudest when talking about companies, be sure that they can find no fault with yours.
Whether online or in person, you should strive to give every customer the best service you possibly can.
Poor customer service will cause people to become patrons of your competitors. If you think you have a customer service issue, ask customers what you can do to change it.
Send out questionnaires, ask customers in person how you can do better, and implement their ideas.
About the Author
Tina Samuels writes on social media,physician reputation, small business ideas, and marketing.
Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business
As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?
In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.
You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?
They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.
Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening.
I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something.
How important are smart skills in leadership today?
Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.
I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other.
So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?
Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’.
Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here