3 Tools to Turn Your Front Line Staff into Customer Service Superstars
By: Simon Foster
We’ve all had a bad customer service experience. Maybe the person behind the counter was hostile, or there was no one there to help you find what you needed. Perhaps, there were lots of people who could have helped…but they were looking at their phones or talking instead.
You know what those interactions feel like, and how they change your impression about a retailer or restaurant. Today, you work so hard to avoid them in your business — and why you want to fix it right away if something isn’t working.
Of course, “fixing it” is easier said than done, especially when you’re sitting in head office rather than on the storeroom floor. That’s why it’s so important to give your front line employees the tools they need to understand, respond to, and improve customer experiences.
Your front line staff should be prepared to provide the best service possible. Here are 3 things you can do to make that happen.
1) Regular communication about real customer experiences, both positive and negative.
It’s easy to get caught in a pattern of only sending your staff complaints or issues to resolve. However, research shows that catching your employees doing something good can have a very positive impact on your business.
The problem is that you might not have many positive stories to share, even if your team is great. That’s because many customer feedback systems (for example, providing an email for “questions and concerns”) are just sounding boards for disgruntled shoppers, and don’t collect honest data from all customers.
Using an effective system to collect real customer feedback and giving your staff recognition for good results will help them continually improve their services.
2) Leadership that listens to insights from the front line
What sounds really good in a boardroom could have unforeseen challenges in the real world. That’s why you need a communication structure that works from the bottom up, rather than only from the top down.
I know what you’re thinking — yes, staff can be change-resistant and some complaints are superficial. The solution is to focus conversations on these key questions:
- How does this issue affect the customer?
- What would be a better system?
To help your staff focus on these things, offer them access to key performance data and real customer feedback. Then, create a space for regular, constructive conversations. This will build team morale, inform great improvements, and breed a culture centred on customer service.
3) The ability to respond to customer feedback in a timely manner
If a customer has an issue, your staff should know about it immediately so they can quickly resolve the issue and/or ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.
Receiving feedback from customers days or even weeks after they visited your business limits your ability to respond to and improve things. If your store is open all week, your system for listening to customers should be moving all week too. Your front line staff can learn from this feedback in order to provide great customer service, day after day.
How one simple system change can give your front line staff everything you need
The secret to getting the most out of your front line staff is communicating meaningful information that focuses on the customer.