By JAQUIE SCAMMELL
We are more connected than ever before thanks to technology. But at what cost does this hyper-fast connection come?
Our employees provide products and services to customers without ever having a face-to-face conversation.
We type questions or issues into live chat feeds on websites, Facebook Messenger and other online conduits.
It’s actually our desire, our need, for speed and convenience that is compromising our customers’ greatest and basic needs as humans: care, kindness and one-on-one attention.
Make it emotional
Other than speed, efficiency and consistency, there is a less tangible measure that we talk about and critique when we are served as customers: the emotions that we experience with an employee in the moment of service.
Consider the inherent power of a service provider in their relationship with the customer:
- An employee will make a customer feel important or will not.
- An employee will make an interaction feel personal or will not.
- An employee will be 100% attentive to the customer or will not.
- An employee will give meaning to the customer’s purchase or will not.
- An employee will allow the customer to feel connected to your brand or will not.
How a customer feels when they interact with your brand relies on how your employee makes them feel, while serving them at the front line.
Yes, customers can feel a connection to your brand by watching a great video in-store or on your website, or experience your brand when they use your products; however, it is how they are treated that lingers long after this.
Humans have the unique capability, unlike any robot or automated solution, to provide an interpersonal interaction that creates the social bond that all of us look for when seeking connection.
The real challenge is to, therefore, embrace technology and automation without compromising emotions and customer relationships.
Win their hearts and minds
When it comes to winning the hearts and minds of your customers, it’s the behaviours of your frontline employees that influence your whole organisation’s performance and results.
How customers feel when they interact with your employees determines how they feel about your company itself. This is what determines whether they will be a one-click wonder or a customer for life.
Procedures and steps of service may be great for robots and androids, but it’s the ways in which your service staff act and the emotional connection they create with your customers that will determine your ultimate success.
Rather than look at complex customer service strategies and ways to engage your staff, you must look to the most powerful and influential people in your business – you and your frontline employees.
Adopt a service mindset
So, even if everyone in your business is already excellent at what they do, sharpening their behaviours at work will contribute to a service mindset that will give you and your organisation an extra edge.
When we are highly tuned in to the people in front of us, we start to frame questions differently, pause before we speak and even start to see things from someone else’s perspective.
Small business owners and leaders who operate with a service mindset help build a service culture: a high-performing culture where customer loyalty is constantly increasing.
In fact, if we were to replace the word ‘customer’ with ‘humans’, we could say that our goal in business is to create greater loyalty with other humans.
Your 6 service mindsets
The best, simplest and easiest way of developing this successful service culture is to work on your service mindset.
This is a continuum of behaviours that impact your employees’ performance, which in turn impacts your customer interactions and loyalty, creating a virtuous circle that enhances your whole business.
The six mindsets you need are:
- Empathy – Practise empathy to create a team of employees who feel understood. Cultivating trust in this way is essential if you have teams who are continually coaching, mentoring, teaching and caring for others.
- Questions – Show sincere interest in your employees as humans to help them grow into their role. Ask the right questions, and you’ll start to encourage your staff to think for themselves and learn the effects of their decisions.
- Energy – Shift the focus and energy onto supporting all employees to deliver great service. What you give attention to, grows.
- Heart – Trust and appreciate your staff and they’ll have a greater willingness to serve, which automatically increases their discretionary effort. This creates a cumulative advantage for a business.
- Purpose – Make staff feel valued and that will motivate them further. An engaged workforce interacts with your customers more positively and this creates customer loyalty.
- Practice – Seek information, develop your people and helping them grow in their working roles. Knowing that you are only as good as your last performance is key to continual growth and improvement and business longevity.
Tying it together
What you need to see is that human capital is just that: a capital investment in your organisation and your brand.
When we yield better actions from our employees, we will yield better results in our business.
When you do this, when you build this service mindset (instead of an automatic one), then and only then, do you start to move the needle in your business and watch your profits soar.