I’m often asked what I consider the single most important thing to do in Customer Experience work.
Lately, my response has been “Treat those who work directly with your customers like royalty.” I continue to reiterate this point in podcasts, conversations, and pieces of training because it’s that important.
Here’s the deal…
They hear it all. Customers talk to your phone reps when they call in and ask questions, ask for help, need information, etc. It’s in these everyday conversations that valuable information is gleaned. Frontline staff engages with the people who are actively using or trying to use, your products and services. They hear the comments about your products and services, your company, your competitors, they hear everything.
They are a Goldmine of Market Research. When speaking with customers they hear the frustrations about your products, services, and company. They hear about the success they’ve achieved and how it happened. Things that help and work well are often mentioned.
Frontline staff also hear the requests of customers that are indicators of what your customers want you to offer, how products could be improved, and how your company could add value.
They are busy. Be it by phone or in person, customer-facing staff usually juggle many plates at the same time. They perform their responsibility while doing their best to representing your company in a positive light.
They aren’t always treated well by customers. Staff working with customers directly get pleasant customers that are always appreciated. But they also get the ones venting their frustrations. They are the first ones to hear complaints and disgruntled feelings. If you haven’t already, sit with your phone staff to understand the complexities of their role.
Engage with Customer Facing staff regularly
Tap into their customer knowledge. Frontline staff likely have much of the information you wish you had. Meet with staff to draw out the information shared by customers. Hold a monthly meeting to share customer feedback and ideas.
Offer incentives for proactive change. Because of the firsthand information they hold, your staff is in a great position to suggest improvements and enhancements. When you implement an idea or suggestion, give them credit and a reward.
Do whatever you can to make and keep them happy. Ask what they’d like on both small and large scales to keep them happy to come to work for you. I have seen requests for specific flavors of coffee, favored magazines in the lunchroom, casual dress one day per week, a surprise of a 10-minute neck and shoulder massage from the local chiropractic practice, communication, and job-specific training, etc. These are all simple, easy and effective when put into place.
Long term benefits
Focusing on your front line staff sends the message that you care about them as much as you do the customers they serve. Staff will believe and understand the culture and value you desire to share with customers.
Most importantly, they’ll feel valued and your company will earn their loyalty. When they feel the love themselves, they can better sell the love to your customers.
Please share your thoughts below…