Companies should always be striving to deliver better customer service. Most of us can recall a particularly awful customer service experience, as well as a particularly fantastic one. I know I certainly do!
I recently had a bit of a Goldilocks experience when trying to purchase a mobile phone plan. I had done my research and knew exactly which mobile service provider I was interested in signing up with, and which of their plans I wanted. I went to the first shop I came across and the girl told me that “mobile phone companies don’t provide service to foreigners”. That can’t be right, what do all the foreigners in Copenhagen do for communication, send smoke signals?
I went to the second location nearest to me and they said all customers have to buy a new mobile phone. Seriously? Finally, I went to a third shop where I was paired up with a very friendly man who said I could absolutely have my phone plan AND use my own iPhone.
In the first two situations, the people I spoke with were either uniformed or unwilling to bother with me as a potential customer. Either way, they were providing poor customer service. The third and final guy was not only friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful but he seemed like he LIKED his job. And because of this, he delivered far better customer service. Clearly he was so memorable, I was inspired to write a post about him.
Providing better customer service doesn’t require special training sessions or insincere politeness. The best way to improving customer service is to improve employee happiness! Alexander Kjerulf, author of Happy Hour is 9 to 5, is a big believer in the idea that happy employees lead to happy customers. Happy customers lead to company success. Rinse and repeat.
Kjerulf firmly believes that the age-old motto “the customer is always right” is the wrong idea to be promoting because it actually makes employees unhappy. Believing the customer is always right is a subconscious way of favouring the customer over the employee which can lead to resentment among employees. When managers put the employees first, the employees will then put the customers first. Put employees first and they will be happy at work. Of course, there are bad employees but how many of them are just unhappy employees who would otherwise be able to deliver great customer service?
A happy employee is knowledgeable about company practices because they WANT to know everything they can about the company. They want to be able to help customers best access their products or services and be the facilitator of that transaction. Happy employees know that their accomplishments will be acknowledged and celebrated, so they are motivated to work hard and put their best face forward when dealing with customers.
Happy employees offer better customer service because they don’t treat it as a department or job skill but as an overall attitude in their work.
Traits of happy employees
- They are in a good mood
- They are motivated
- They care about customers
- They are better able to handle difficult situations
- They care about quality
- They have more energy
All of the above traits will result in employees giving genuine and better customer service. So instead of focusing on making your customers happy, focus on making your employees happy. The customer happiness will be sure to follow.
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Image from here.