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Keeping your customers happy is all about offering a great customer service and experience. But this stems from employees who listen to, empathize and engage full on with the customer. When you have such employees, your customers stay loyal to you and the retention rates go up naturally.
While customer retention as a topic is being widely discussed, employee retention and satisfaction seems to be largely forgotten as everyone’s focus seems to fall on the customer. Companies certainly need to be customer-centric today but we all must remember that employees are the backbone of any business model and the type of experience your business delivers is totally shaped by these people.
Your employees are your first line of defense. They are the ones who interact with your customers the most, which means they have a direct impact on the customer experience and on your bottom line. Here are a few statistics that vindicate this statement:
• 76% of consumers consider customer service to be the true test of how much a company values them (2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey)
• US companies lose approximately $41 billion due to poor customer service (NewVoiceMedia)
• 97% of global consumers stated that customer service is important in choosing a brand and their loyalty to that brand (2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report)
• 62% of global consumers have switched to a different brand after experiencing poor customer service (2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report)
• 74% of US consumers have spent more due to good customer service (American Express 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer)
Clearly, customer service is important to consumers, which means it should bear the same importance for companies, and most businesses acknowledge this fact and attempt to develop and implement sound customer service strategies that will exceed consumer expectations.
The major problem is that many don’t take into account their employees. No matter how great your customer service strategy is, if you don’t have the right employees involved or if they are unhappy, their contribution towards customer happiness and loyalty is minimal.
Good customer service is important to most consumers, with 74% stating they’ve spent more money because of it and 62% having abandoned a brand because of poor customer service.
HOW DO YOU FIND OUT IF YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE UNHAPPY? ASK THEM NOW!START LISTENING TO YOUR EMPLOYEES!
When hiring someone who will be interacting on a constant basis with your customers, you need to look at their personality more than their skills. Experience is certainly important, especially if they’ve been successfully working in a client-facing postion for years but you also need to look deeper.
You need to look for someone who displays empathy and kindness. Someone who can connect with customers on an emotional level and is inherently kind. This type of person naturally goes out of their way to help others. It’s the way they’re built. And your customers will sense that this person really does want to help them.
Funnily enough, even if such an employee is unable to solve your customer’s problem, the customer in question will still feel as if they’ve had a positive experience simply because of the emotional connection your employee manages to establish.
This person also needs to be optimistic because sometimes they have to deal with customers who are just unpleasant. If they can’t shake off being the target of a customer’s ire, they aren’t going to last long.
Empathy, kindness and optimism are critical, but this person also needs to work well in a team and be conscientious. Usually, employees who are empathetic and kind do well in teams, so this won’t be such a big issue, but if they lack follow-through and aren’t detail-oriented, the rest of the team might soon be up in arms. Plus, they might make promises to customers and then not follow through on them, which will severely damage your company’s reputation.
You also want someone who has at least a small dose of entrepreneurial spirit. You need someone who will take charge of the situation and not be afraid to make decisions on the fly so that they can fix the customer’s problem. The last thing you need is someone who is afraid of their shadow or thinks so far inside the box, they are never able to come up with solutions on their own and are constantly turning to colleagues and superiors to be told what to do.
Keeping employees happy and engaged comes next. And unless you recruit the right talent, employee engagement will remain a tough idea to execute. The hiring phase is highly crucial to any organization’s longevity, and forms the base of a customer-centric work culture.