7 Tips for Managers in Customer Service for 2007

Leonard Buchholz
 


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There is an area of providing Customer Service we often overlook. It’s the people we depend on to provide that service.

It’s our co-workers, employees, brothers in arms, men, women all engaged in the game of life and the business of well, business. We are so focused on the Customer needs, wants and expectations, we forget to ask what the people we engage to provide that service need, want and expect.

Here are 7 things that you might want to review in the coming year.

Do you have complete job descriptions, or are you just plugging in whomever and hoping that they work out? With a complete job description in hand, you can weed out candidates who obviously will not be able to perform the task. Maybe your position requires heavy counter and personal contact. Would you hire someone that is extremely introverted during the interview process, someone that you continually coax to provide answers? I think the answer would be no.

Hire Friendly, Hire Trainability, Hire Competence.

Once they have been hired, do you train them properly? I don’t mean show them to their work area, tell them where the fridge is and wish them “good luck, and call me if you have any problems. " (If you have been through this training, you know exactly what I mean) I’m talking about not only providing them with formal training as necessary, I’m talking about assigning them a “work mentor", someone who has the responsibility to stick with them from beginning to end for a few days of acclimatization.

And not the new person, or the “whomever is available. " You might actually consider assigning someone who really knows your business and can spend time explaining things the way they are supposed to be explained. And paying them for the training they provide. Most corporations assign this to HR, and that may or may not work for your business.

You might consider setting up an employee “think tank. " Their job is to get together once a month and analyze anything that affects Customer Service and getting the GIR value up. (GIR=Get It Right) They would make recommendations for management review and implementation. The key to this is “Buy In" by management and personnel.

Making “window dressing" recommendations is a huge waste of time and will actually set your efforts back. People will stop believing that they can effect change and be indifferent to putting time into a project with no chance of having the recommendations put into place.

If you are not sitting down with your staff at least once every 6 months one on one, you are missing a big opportunity. Who best knows what is happening and how to improve it? The people who work there and care, that’s who!

I’m not talking about Eyores and Schleprocks.

I’m talking about people who put something into what they do. My biggest mistake in management was not sitting down with my staff and reviewing with them their goals, their hopes and what they would like to accomplish that year. And believe me, when I say “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in management, " I have.

If I had a"Mulligan" to use in my career, I would use it right there. Talking with your staff on a regular formal and informal basis is critical for you to help them see the company vision and for you to see their view and bring them into alignment with each other. They can tell you everything you need to know about how to improve your company. Just ask them.

There you go. 7 areas for you to take a look at in 2007. Let’s review what we’ve covered.

1. Write a complete job description.

2. Hire Friendly, Hire Trainability, Hire Competence. Hire the right person based on the job description.

3. Train them like you expect them to perform.

4. Assign a work “Mentor. "

5. Set up a “Think Tank" composed of people that work there.

6. Sit down and review/coach/cheer at least once every six months.

7. Know what your people are working for, and help them see the company vision.

It’s still all about Customer Service. Help the people who provide it help you provide it.

Leonard Buchholz leads seminars in Customer Service, Attitude and Skills and Management. He also provides coaching and consulting in Customer Service. He resides in Southern California and you can reach him at 760-529-5635 or email him at selfemployedagent@cox.net .

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