It is the irony of the technical age: we are more connected than at any time in history; yet more disconnected than ever.
Someone recently called a major retailer. After being on hold for a considerable amount of time, waiting for the correct department to answer, she drove to the location…all the while still on hold.
She walked to the department, found the sales person for the department, and let them know the phone was ringing.
“Go ahead and answer that. I will wait,” said the potential customer.
The sales person answered, not realizing the person on the line was the potential customer who was also in the store.
From around the corner, she inquired about the availability of a certain item. As she observed, the sales person did not check on availability; they simply said, “We don’t have that item.”
She promptly left the store and went elsewhere.
Meanwhile, another person was on the phone with a hotel chain which had undergone a merger on part of their services. They had been on hold for 40 minutes – all to answer a very simple question.
And in a very remote area, a handicapped individual awaited a medical equipment repair for a life-dependent device. After multiple calls by the individual, an astute care provider managed to push through the obstacles to determine the work order was sent but not received. And no one had bothered to follow up.
This was all in one day – a typical day in today’s business world – where customers are trying to connect and find resolution to questions and issues; and companies are not responding in a timely manner.
It is the nature of business. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and it shouldn’t be.
There are other businesses that have mastered the art of customer communication and service.
As a result, they are some of the fastest growing businesses in today’s business world.
As a leader, you are responsible for growing the business. But as a leader, you must always be aware that the success of business – beyond technology and automation – is fully dependent on serving your customers well.
You can have the best product out there, but if you don’t deliver and service it well, you will lose business.
You can own a large retail chain, but if you lose focus on customer service and communication, you will lose to the online retailers and boutique type businesses who do deliver stellar service.
How can you lead an effective customer-focused business, no matter how big or how small?
Focus on People
It is about the people you serve, the people who serve those people, and the people with whom you partner in service. Technology is a great tool, but a wise leader will always keep their finger on the pulse of the people who underscore the company’s success.
Empower Your Team
Policies and procedures are essential to business. But there are times when the layers of bureaucracy actually impede service. A wise leader will take time to ensure that policies and procedures empower the team to serve well.
Encourage a Heart of Service
The advent of cell phones and computers have fostered elements of isolation in many. It is important that you teach your team how to serve. It may not come naturally, but it can be taught.
One of the most successful food chains in the U.S. today is centered on service. It is the core component of their success. This is an example where you can be a large company, yet still encourage a heart of service.
Teach Your Team to Communicate
Effective communication is being impacted by the widespread use of texting. This makes it essential for leaders to train their teams to communicate well. Communication is not only about “message delivered.” It is also about “message received.”
In the examples above, messages were being delivered. Connections were established. But true communication was impeded on the receiving end.
Is your company addressing both sides of the equation? Have you empowered your people to respond and follow-up to resolution, or are they rewarded only on the number of calls they take and the brevity of each? Do your people know how to deal with different types of people and situations?
Today’s businesses can’t afford not to focus on communications training for their people. In an AI economy, these personal communications will become even less commonplace; but are an essential component for success.
Are you and your team prepared to serve well when it comes to communication?
Are you in need of communication training resources for you team? Consider the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.