The secret to happy customers is a happy customer service staff. Start by following the WIN model: winning attitude, involvement and nurturing.
Next to customers, the biggest asset any employer has is its employees. Nurturing the morale and well-being of employees pays off handsomely in terms of retaining happy customers.
There is nothing more obvious to customers than a vibe of discord, unhappiness and uncaring employees. Without saying much, this attitude speaks volumes for the brand and image of the company. It can make or break sales and retention of hard-earned customers.
Keeping customers happy
It is no secret that keeping customers happy and satisfied is the lifeline of your business. Why spend all that time, energy and money on securing new customers if you can't keep them happy and keep their business? Securing a sale or contract is only half the process. The bigger deal is on the back end.
Excellent customer service is critical to increased sales, long-term customer partnerships and, ultimately, increased revenue. Building a rapport and happy relationship with your customers ensures long-term success for both your business and employees.
Keeping employees happy
There are several red flags that tell you, "Houston, we have a problem." Employee behaviors to avoid at all costs include gossiping, backstabbing, taking credit for co-workers' work and making negative comments to customers. Negative behaviors like these can make customers question why they would want to do business with you if you can't even manage your own staff. How can you turn these behaviors around before having to do crisis-point damage control?
Keep the acronym "WIN" in mind. You can implement the WIN strategy to begin or continue to create a happier customer service staff.
W – Winning attitude
Instilling a winning attitude in customer service staff accomplishes two very important things: It makes them want to do better in their jobs, and it makes them take action and strive to perform better in their jobs.
Moving customer service staff from just showing up for an eight-hour shift to taking pride in their work and giving 100 percent every day is no small feat. This goal needs to start at the top and be led into action by example.
You wll need to dedicate additional time and effort to retraining every member of your team. Retraining exercises should engage customer service staff in real-life, real-time scenarios on how to positively and effectively handle customers who may be less than pleasant.
Encouraging customer service staff to support each other and understand they are all on the same team is another important aspect of creating a positive team environment.
I – Involvement
One of the biggest employee complaints is the feeling of isolation, invisibility and lack of involvement in corporate decisions. They are just sitting ducks with no control or input in policy changes or the future direction of the company.
Involving customer service staff is important in fostering an atmosphere of ownership. Letting customer service staff know that their ideas and input are not only heard but encouraged lets them take ownership of their jobs and feel more pride and satisfaction in them.
Even just 15-minute update meetings once per week to keep everyone in the loop will prevent confusion, fear, rumors and escalation of unresolved conflicts from management.
N – Nurturing
If there are conflicts or unresolved issues, they will not resolve themselves or disappear if you ignore them. Allowing bad behavior from a certain department or group of employees because their perceived value is higher makes other employees feel devalued and unappreciated.
The key takeaway here is to make everyone in the company feel important. Get the point across that the system breaks down when even one person is not giving their all.
It is employees jumping in the game rather than sitting on the sidelines that makes the difference in the attitude of indifference and being taken for granted. Hard work and going the extra mile needs to be recognized and encouraged in all employees.
One-on-one or staff meetings for continuous feedback should be ongoing and regular. There should be no negative surprises in an annual performance review. All employees should know where they stand at all times.
The huge payoff of happy employees and customers
Understanding what your employees want and need is something that needs to take priority in your business plan. As a starting point, initiate the WIN approach to reach your goal of a happier customer service staff. Encouraging and fostering a happier, more positive work environment will successfully impact every aspect of your business, including happier customers.
That is a WIN.