Thursday, January 26, 2012

May I put you on hold?

"Wait. What? You're putting me on hold for a third time so you can connect me with your shift leader's supervisor's manager? I just needed to know one simple thing about my account..."

Sound familiar? All too familiar. Too often customers pick up the phone to find an answer to a question and don't receive a hint of customer service from the other end of the line. Customers start with the pretense that the entity they patron cares about them and is in the business of customer service. So why are some companies destroying that expectation for their customers? The short answer is that customer service has fallen off the corporate radar as a priority training item and expectation of employees.

The solution? It starts during the interviewing and hiring process - finding the right people with depth of character and a sense of empathy. Employees can be trained in technical skills, but personality is inherent. To paraphrase author Jim Collins from his book Good to Great, get the right people on the bus and get the wrong ones off.

Front-line employees, the ones answering the phones and interfacing with customers, often are the first glimpse customers have of your business. That representation is key. If apathetic, disinterested and under invested representatives are answering your phones, manning your cash registers, or responding on social media - you're in for a wake-up call. Your customers won't carry on a long-standing relationship with you. They'll move on and find a company that does care about them.

Don't delay, aggravate or negate your customers and their needs (no matter how small that need may be.) Customer service ties into personality and desire - hire the people that want to help your business and your customers be successful and valued.

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