Following a busy summer period, now is the time to take stock of any customer service challenges you faced over the last couple of months and look for training opportunities in your team that lead to better service, writes Mark Jones*.
Involve the team
Keep it simple is always a good rule. Start with sitting down with your team and asking what went well, what didn’t go well and seek opportunities to improve. You may be surprised how many opportunities are uncovered just by taking the time to reflect on the last few busy weeks.
The effect of pressure
Over the past few weeks there may have been a few moments where things didn’t quite go to plan. It is a natural instinct to consider why our team in times of high pressure or crisis fail to see simple solutions. The truth is most of us fail to see all the options when the heat is on. This is where training pays dividends.
Think of military units or even top sportsmen. They don’t practice to complete missions or make shots when things are simple and relaxed. It is to ensure that instinct kicks in when the chips are down. The same is true for your team.
High performance environments start with high performance people
Kurt Lewin proposed way back in 1936 that behaviour is a function of not just the person but their environment. He used this to explain a lot of social behaviours, in business we apply this theory to encourage management to establish an environment for success for our teams through training.
Research has shown that most people go to work to do their job well. Yet without the right environment from information, training, tools or context even the best staff are exposed to high risk of failure.
Managing performance with IT
With mobile workforces this becomes difficult as the environment our teams are working in is less under our control. For a more reliable and more disciplined team we need to take control of as much of the performance equation as we can. This means selecting the right people followed by monitoring and coaching them on their behaviour in various situations.
To do this there are software tools that can monitor teams’ performance in their day to day duties. And you can overlay this with customer service feedback. Ask customers if your team are exhibiting the right traits of communication, personal appearance, empathy and attention to detail. This also allows your customers the opportunity to air any issues well before they become critical.
Polish your team
Involve your team in a review of service delivery, consider what training gaps you have (be sure to tell clients when you have done this), remember most staff want to do a good job but may not know how to and get a system in place to help you monitor and provide feedback to your team from customers. This will all add up to delivering consistent service and delighting your customers more often. They are sure to delight you back with their loyalty.
Mark Jones is a director of www.freshOps.com.au, an Australian-made, mobile workforce application and management portal built purely for cleaners by cleaners. Questions or feedback welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This first appeared in the March/April issue of INCLEAN magazine. To subscribe, click here.