Why do we get such bad customer service?

Consistently delivering an exceptional and stellar front line customer service and matching team members to boot is challenging for any company to achieve.  However, failure to deliver on the basics when serving your customers can have truly detrimental repercussions.  As Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart famously quoted: “There is only one boss – the customer.”  So if this is true, then why is it that we seem to fail so often on giving good customer service?

With the huge shift in the perception and abundant use and ease of social media, unsatisfied customers don’t get mad anymore, they get even. A recent survey by ClickFox shows that a whopping 60% of customers are influenced by social media and 35% of unhappy customers will stop doing business with you altogether on the back of a bad experience.

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks coffee, said: “You can’t expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don’t exceed the employees’ expectations of management.”

So as leaders in front of house services, what can we do to help our team members be exceptional and memorable every step of the way? Here are some quick fixes to ensure that you remain unaffected by that oh so common lacklustre service delivery:

Dedicate time and attention – invest time to train team members to give them the armour for the front line, so that they can deliver exactly what you want and in the way that you want. Share visions, goals, processes, procedures and give clear guidance. Without this, you are left with frustrated and unmotivated team members serving your customers in the wrong way.

Inclusion – lack of communication breeds annoyance and ill-feeling amongst team members so give them regular updates, tell them what’s going on, listen to their feedback and keep an open door policy. Encourage innovation and empower them to come up with ideas and let them know what a vital link in the company chain they really are.

Recruit for attitude – train for skill – selecting the right team members for the right roles is absolutely crucial.  Help those that need developing with training and coaching, and immediately manage those that aren’t on board, either formally or informally to prevent any negativity reaching your customers.

Home life vs work life – sometimes keeping personal problems to ourselves can be difficult but when a team member’s personal life spills over into work affecting their service delivery then take time out with them. Suggest asking your colleague for a quick chat or coffee, find out what’s wrong and offer support wherever they need it and remember to check on them regularly through 1-2-1’s.

Say thanks!  It’s the little things that go a long way and make a difference. Recognise a job well done and show gratitude when it is deserved. Appreciation demonstrates just how integral your team is to the success of the business. Saying those two little words is a sure fire, simple way for your team members to radiate positivity and exude the very best experience to your customers.

By Emma Gregory, Operations Manager, MITIE Client Services


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