OPINIONS: Customer care implies employee care

There is this particular bank that whenever I go to, I have the impression that the staff is enjoying being there. They look smart, happy and enthusiastic. I kept on wondering what could be the magic potion offered to these staff until I met the managing director and his management team.

There is this particular bank that whenever I go to, I have the impression that the staff is enjoying being there. They look smart, happy and enthusiastic. I kept on wondering what could be the magic potion offered to these staff until I met the managing director and his management team.

They all look like a bunch of family members and friends working together. They call each other by their first name and employees have easy access to their managers.
Do you treat your employees the way you want them to treat customers?

Most business owners do not, yet they expect their personnel to excel when it comes to offer friendly customer service.

I have noticed that employees who are unhappy on their jobs are most often those who display negative attitudes to their customers. They respond to customers with the same attitude they receive from their managers and supervisors.

During one of my training sessions in Kigali, some staff of a big company told me that they start work at 7am and finish at 2pm or 3pm.

During that period, they do not a lunch break and have to wait till they finish their duty before leaving their desk. 

The amazing thing is that they are in direct contact with customers and need to be friendly, smiling, available etc

Do you think it is reasonable to ask these service people to give outstanding customer service when they are hungry? Do you know the adage “a hungry man is an angry man”?

If you want your employees to deliver a good level of service to customers, you will have to show them a minimum of caring. 

Below are some of the actions that can create a favorable working environment for your staff and a positive customer experience for your clients.

Hire the right people and pay them accordingly.
If you want outstanding customer service, you will need to look for people who are able to have a positive impact on your business. Don’t just put anyone in contact with your clients because of the meager salary you want to offer.

Develop a hiring procedure that focuses on attitude and not only on technical qualifications especially for your customer facing employees. Focus on attributes such as creativity, friendliness, enthusiasm and always remember this adage “Hire for attitude, train for skill”

Train your staff and offer orientation programs for new hires.

I met Florence in this big company who didn’t know the name of her Managing Director. She was recruited 2 weeks earlier without any prior induction training. There is also Felix at this nice and new hotel in Kibuye who couldn’t tell the number of rooms they had.

And also James at this hotel in Gisenyi who couldn’t give the phone number of their sister hotel in Kigali. Examples like these are so many and all show the lack of induction training.

It is important to take time for induction and explain clearly to new employees what the company expects of them. Let them know the company’s vision, history, targets. Don’t just throw your new employee right in the water and see how well they swim.

Create an environment where your staff feels respected.
A positive working environment will make your workers feel valued and good about coming to work.

Your presence in front of your staff should not only be to blame, humiliate, reprimand, disrespect, judge them. If you want them to respect your customers, let them see that you also respect them. 

Recognize your employees for exceptional customer service and acknowledge their effort. Make your working environment be a fun and energizing place that your staff will look forward coming in every day.

Regardless of your industry, if you want your customers to experience good service, you must set the example and live by it. Remember your employees will do what you do and not what you say.

Greet them warmly with a smile and they will definitely do the same to your clients. And this will positively impact your bottom line.

sandra.idossou@sheiconsulting.com
www.sheiconsulting.com

 

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