Maham Riaz (June 29, 2016)
Great leaders know the importance of creating a customer centric culture within the organization. To promote that culture and vision, they need to experience the role at the frontline interacting with clients directly. This helps them better understand customers’ perspective, needs and expectations. Serving and communicating directly with customers gives you an insight on how they feel about your company and products. Thus, you can modify the service experience according to their preferences. Experiencing the frontline also gives you the opportunity to understand the problems of your staff, helping you devise an effective strategy for employee training, engagement and retention. You also get an overview of what kind of experience your existing clients are having and you can improve it by analyzing the loopholes in service. Have a look at the reasons business leaders need to have frontline experience!
Serving at the frontline makes you well-acquainted with different kinds of clients you have and their needs. You can closely observe their behavior and understand their mindset and emotions. You get to know what they expect from your business and product/service. It also gives you an opportunity to plan future products keeping in mind what their inclinations are. Moreover, you can ask for suggestions from customers face to face which will help you enhance service experience according to their expectations.
Working on the frontline helps you identify loopholes in processes. For instance, while serving clients if you receive recurrent complaints about delayed delivery or product issues, you can immediately take action to fix these problems for a seamless service experience. With the help of customer journey mapping, see which areas of your service need to be improved; if you find that your client support is not efficient, you can think about ways to make the system better and implement changes instantly to improve customer satisfaction.
Being a leader you have to constantly guide your team and keep them motivated and engaged. Experiencing the frontline makes you familiar with the problems your employees face while dealing with clients. There are scenarios when your frontline staff has to deal with difficult customers, sometimes the job gets really stressful. Walking in their shoes helps you relate to their situation and therefore you can train them in a better way. You can conduct training sessions to promote active listening and encourage creativity in problem solving. To encourage your team you can give them incentives like, a CSR with five happy clients a week would get “Star of the Week” title and performance bonus.
Frontline experience exposes you to various service issues that otherwise might not be brought to your attention. This gives you a chance to make more customer centric decisions. Having an early view of the problems that can impact your business helps you make informed decisions. For instance, while working on the frontline you might notice that clients have to wait longer for billing because there are not enough billing counters. You can resolve this issue immediately by engaging more resources and expanding the billing area.
Without being honest and accessible to your customers, you cannot build lasting relationships with them. Frontline experience helps you improve transparency and accessibility for clients, you can encourage them to share their honest feedback with you. Talking to them in person, asking for their suggestions and exchanging latest updates about your product/service would help you gain their trust. Giving your clients the confidence that they can contact you anytime and maintaining a level of trust by keeping them informed about everything new and happening is likely to build you a strong customer base.
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