The Often Forgotten Link Between Customer Service and Retention

The entire concept of a company tends to change depending on an employee’s circumstances. To some, it’s just a way to earn money. It’s something they endure and suffer through. To others, it’s a chance to really feel a sense of self-worth after helping to provide needed services. Others might think of a company as a place to work with others for the common good.

But one outlook in particular stands apart from the rest. And that’s the position people find themselves in when they’re in charge. The shift into the managerial space changes one’s outlook rather dramatically. People suddenly realize that all of those feelings are justifiable to an extent, and that it’s now up to them to cultivate the most positive outlook and relationship to the company among various employees. Customer service is a particularly important area which one should focus on.

Both department and representative

Customer service might not seem like the most intuitive choice. There are quite a few areas in any company which deserve extra attention to overall morale. Additionally, customer service is often considered one of the easier areas for new hires, but that attitude itself is the first thing to work on.

Anyone who’s worked with customers knows what it’s like to feel beset by every side. Anyone who’s been in that position can attest to the fact that their performance dropped as a result. Giving it your all without any sign of recognition simply isn’t part of human nature. It hurts both performance and mood at the same time.

But at the same time, it’s easy to see what happens when customer service is properly appreciated. Many stores have employee recognition awards. And often times this is even something the public is exposed to. The smiling and happy results are readily apparent. However, like any tool, it needs to be carefully used and in the proper manner.

Why morale matters with customer service

One first needs to consider why morale matters with any given position. With customer service, the main point isn’t even how they help customers. It’s certainly an important part of their position. But the most important aspect of customer service is actually representation.

Customers typically come to customer service when they’re unhappy or concerned with something. They’re not just looking for someone to solve a problem. The unstated question they’re also asking is whether or not they should continue to do business with your company. On a technical level, one might just hear a few questions or an exchange of various comments. But on a larger scale, it’s a matter of customer retention. That single interaction can ensure dozens or hundreds of sales in the future. And much of this depends on the mood of the customer service employee and how they see themselves within the company.

Rewards and guides

The reward system helps show recognition. And it helps showcase when guidelines are being followed. But at the same time, that also means one needs guidelines in place. Customer service tends to have some general guideline on how to handle a conversation. This is usually a highly effective method of solving issues in the most efficient way possible. It’s also especially useful when using more virtual interaction.

What’s less common is a careful examination of how these guides apply to emotional interaction. Again, the customer’s stated intent usually comes in the form of a need that needs to be addressed. But the company’s intent should always be customer retention. That’s served equally by solving the issue and making the customer feel appreciated. Staying too solidly on a set company script breaks the emotional connection. Moving too far away from a company policy can, in turn, leave customers with their issues unresolved. It’s important to create a balance between the two extremes.

Putting emphasis on the team

One of the better ways to handle this balance is through team cohesion. It’s important to get customer service employees really talking with each other and with management.

Customer service should be a bridge between the worlds of customer and company. There needs to be good communication with everyone involved. A manager needs to be a part of this discussion and really listen to what the employees have to say about their interactions. An employee’s frustration over company guidelines where customer service is concerned should be noted.

A company needs to discuss the issues to see if modifying the customer service guidelines might be the correct direction and provide a better experience for customers. Creating that better experience for customers provides a greater chance of keeping them coming back in the future.

John Andrew is the Founder and Publisher of Teens Mean Business & has been writing about small businesses since 2005.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *