In our efforts to constantly improve customer service, we need to encourage, train, and reward our support staff. Winning is contagious, and when we acknowledge employees who leave their mark, and we show them that they matter, their success can lead to more success from other staff members making it a snowball effect toward the very positive.
Assuming that our customer service representatives know that the customer is the reason for their work, we must continue to train; whether it be through online seminars, practical workshops, conferences, role-playing, or one on one training. All employees should have the availability of resources to help with self-improvement. When our staff is well-trained and the continuing education becomes part of the company culture, employees can be trusted with decisions that entail thinking out of the box or working within a discretionary budget when needed. Excellent customer service personnel make customer service personal, no matter what the product, remembers customers' names, remembers handshakes, and always says thank you.
Now how do you keep your customer service staff performing at such high standards? As long as employees are meeting customers' needs, I believe owners should offer rewards from acknowledging successes and accomplishments at staff meetings where employees are recognized in front of their peers to monetary rewards. For high profit businesses, rewards for outstanding customer service can range from theater tickets, spa treatments, or to a day off with pay. In one company, the president offered a three-day trip to the Grand Bahamas for seven unsolicited positive customer comments about an employee's exceptional service.
For the small company who still wants to recognize their exceptional employees and cannot afford spa treatments and trips, consider other appreciative ways to compensate someone's hard work. An owner can write a complimentary review of the employees accomplishment and add it to their portfolio as an edge for a future promotion or pay raise. You can buy the employee breakfast or take him/her out to lunch. How about some movie passes or extra time off? It doesn't have to be expensive, but it should be personal and a sincere way to say thank you for helping your business be successful. After all, empowering your staff to serve in a positive method leads to more business and happier employees.
photo credit: USACE Europe Distric