Smiling is important. Eye contact matters. Patience is essential. Being warm and friendly is a must. And providing a positive emotional experience for your customers is a priority.
But these are not the greatest of customer service strategies. Ironically, the greatest of all strategies has nothing to do with customers and everything to do with employees.
The greatest strategy is this: Great customer service begins with being employee-focused first and customer-focused second. If you treat your employees well, they will treat their customers well.
Too often, businesses, hospitals, restaurants and organisations focus all their energy on the customer while ignoring the very employees who serve their customers. This may work in the short run but eventually employees become tired, burnt out, negative and resentful.
One time I was speaking to leaders of a hospital and was told that they were doing patient satisfaction surveys as a way to improve nurse performance.
“What about nurse satisfaction surveys?” I asked.
“No, we’re not doing that,” they said.
The problem was clear. Measuring patient satisfaction will not make nurses more energised, positive and attentive. Patient satisfaction will go up when nurse satisfaction goes up.
It’s all interconnected
I have found that organisations that deliver the best service also have the best culture where employees are valued, listened to and cared for, and in turn these employees value, care for and serve their customers.
For example, a number of my banking, retail and restaurant clients have significantly improved revenue and service by focusing on and measuring employee engagement.
You can literally track their growth and improve performance with their improvement in engagement. And, companies such as Southwest Airlines have built their success on the foundation of an employee-first culture.
Of course, we need to train our employees to do all the things that make for a great customer experience. There are great books on the essentials of creating a great customer experience. Most of all, remember that if you model great service, your people will share it.
So, if you want your team to serve, serve them. If you want your people to care, care about them.
If you want your team to love their work, love them. If you want your employees to be their best, give them your best.
If you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers. Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.