Too often the people are promoted into leadership roles because of their technical expertise or tenure with the company. What’s often overlooked is whether the manager has the ability and skills to lead their team to improve the customer experience.
When I entered my first leadership role as a customer service manager, there wasn’t much training and development. As a result, I had to learn through each experience what I needed to work on. I began to learn new skills that would elevate my team deliver better customer service.
Many companies rely on service initiatives that are “quick fixes”—a three-month or one-year initiatives to make the organization customer-service focused. But creating a sustainable service culture is not a one-time, skills-training event. It’s an ongoing organizational commitment driven by effective leadership.
Set Clear Goals and Expectations
A customer service leader should spend time on setting goals and expectations to insure their employees understand clearly where they are going. You can’t just say, “We want great customer service.” A customer service leader must communicate what the baseline expectations are for each employee and build on higher service quality standards. Your employees need to see what success looks like by having S.M.A.R.T goals inspiring them to action.
Involve your employees
Provide your employees an opportunity to be part of the service improvement plan. Every leader needs support and a buy-in to service initiatives. Involve them throughout the process by engaging with them and ask questions to create a constructive dialogue of collaboration. When you put a group of people together, they can come up with great idea to move the needle. Employees can be more motivated when they are able to provide feedback and suggestions about goals and issues affecting customer service.
Team empowerment creates memorable customer-service experiences
Customer service improves when your employees feel empowered to take action when they are on the “front lines” of dealing with the customer. No one likes to be passed on and hear the words,” Let me talk to my manager” As a service leader, you need to give them enough authority to handle different circumstances and freedom to help a customer at any given time.
Don’t forget to Lead by Example
Service leaders first and foremost lead by example. You can’t ask your employees to do something unless you personally did it yourself. The best way to continually reinforce training principles and your company’s service values is to walk the talk. When leaders and those delivering service can see the daily actions of serving the customer, it will encourage better teamwork.
Praise and hold them accountable
Find ways to share positive feedback with your team. We sometimes take our employees for granted. Customer service can be a fun experience for them if you actually take the time to recognize a job well done and if someone delivered a WOW experience. You might have to work hard to find reasons to recognize some of your less than stellar employees, but that’s okay. A little encouragement help employees know that someone cares for them as people.
On the other side of praise, be sure to hold your employees accountable for the results. Remember why we set goals and expectations? Not only to establish performance yardsticks, but to keep us on track and find out what we need to polish and improve upon to deliver a great customer experience.
What else would you suggest in addition to those practices? I would love to connect and hear your feedback.