Time is money. Don’t waste the time of your precious customers by making them wait endlessly for getting an issue resolved, instead train your frontline staff to take matters in their own hands and resolve complaints on the spot.
Empowering your frontline staff to make decisions and provide solutions, ensures happier customers, since waiting time is low and they won’t be shuffled through the long chain of hierarchy, only because a card didn’t work or the code is expired.
The only way you can hope to deliver a world-class customer service experience is by listening to, equipping, empowering, involving and valuing the feedback and expertise your frontline employees can offer. This is the crux of an effective game plan and in a breakdown of its components, probably the foremost step.
Getting a clear picture of what a typical workday is like for the frontline employee, you can weed out the reality from the perceived scenarios. Get a feel of the actual environment they face, the nature of requests or complaints that come up most often, their activities from pre-shift preparation to post-shift cleanup and closeout. This is far and beyond a site check. All it requires is one day off to immerse yourself in operational reality and come out with a fresh perspective of where the gaps exist.
You need to ensure that the critical tasks and processes required for customer support are completed within their stipulated time frames and in no way hinders the delivery of a world-class customer service experience. This is called ‘smart tasking’. The time spent by your on-site frontline managers and off-site corporate managers in carefully scrutinizing the task roster and engaging frontline employees in discussions regarding tasks they feel are inefficient, ineffective, or just plain unnecessary, will more than pay off in higher levels of employee efficiency, customer satisfaction, and corporate profits.
Your frontline employees are the most able people to handle any customer complaints at any time. You need to visibly make them feel that they are responsible and everyone looks to them for handling any given situation. This will empower them to instantly solve customer problems and view them as opportunities for transforming a customer’s bad experience into a positive one. Counteract a particularly ugly turn of events in a more composed manner.
Customer complaints can sometimes take you by surprise and leave you unprepared to handle a particular scenario. It is always best to plan in advance, delve into company history and have an interactive forum where everyone can put forward the problems they have encountered and how they managed to solve them. Frontline employees should be encouraged to give their valuable input. Also, they should not be forced to implement solutions which they instinctively feel wouldn’t work, but they should always have a mental repository of solutions to offer.
The frontline staff is privy to information about your customers that upper management could not possibly know about. How senior customers want earlier store hours, or why the accumulated trash on the sidewalk puts off customers. Pay heed to their comments and suggestions to make your organization better. Plan informal sessions with the employees to listen to their innovative ideas.
Always remember, a good game plan requires you to constantly stay focused on your customer service, not treat it like a monthly memo. It should be inculcated within the strategic structure and you need to stay committed to delivering it every single day.
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