The Benefits of Unconventional Customer Service

I have been asked several times what the actual benefits of my forthcoming book are, considering it is unconventional and the rules get broke so often in it. Remember some people think that my ideas are stupid, unworkable, and idiotic.

 

Well, I will in this post, attempt to quantify those benefits to your company and employees. Whether you believe me or not is up to you but I have seen these ideas work in multiple kinds of businesses. From security, call centers, hotels, to fast food and I have no doubt they will work in every industry.

I will use questions I got from a reporter about the book:

What are the potential beneficial effects on productivity, efficiency, profitability, and employee satisfaction?

The potential benefits are exceptional for any business. If you look at some of the internet companies out there and the way they treat their employees… They are loyal and committed to doing a great job. When employees are like that, then their satisfaction goes up, efficiency rises, and overall the company is liable to begin making more money in the long run. This is mainly due to the fact that if the employees are treated fairly, like family, then they will have a bested interest in ensuring that it succeeds.

There will always be malcontents, who refuse to change for a myriad of reasons, and those who will leave or quit for varying motives, which may be unfortunate but that is the age of business we live in. The turnover and attrition levels are a fact of doing business in a modern economy.

What are the potential beneficial effects on customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction?

Again, if the employees are treated like family and fairly… they will treat their customers, both internal & external fairly and like family as well. These customers will be reluctant to take their business elsewhere because of the specialized service they receive. This in turn draws in others who are looking for such a personable experience when purchasing whatever they are shopping for.

This will obviously get around to others who will want to come work for the company and bring their business to it. It is comparable to what Wal-Mart was 25-30 years ago. It was friendly, customer centric, and the employees were mostly happy. Since Sam Walton died it has become more about money and how much they can save, therefore it’s not as customer centric nor are the employees as happy – with some help from agitators.

It is reasonable to expect the profits to rise and the profict margin to rise along with it. Increased sales because better and friendly service and actually taking an interest in the external customer will all make a difference in the profitability of the company.

For business owners who want to transform their companies into people-first organizations, how can they go about it?

It’s simple! It begins with the executive level and works down from there. In other words only one person can change the culture…the individual employee. Each and every employee all have to take responsibility for the change within the company culture and embrace it.

What specific things do they need to do?

#1 the owners/exec’s need to have the mindset of customer service in their minds. An old boss of mine, one of the best I ever had, made a habit of management by walking around. As Plant General Manager he got out and walked amongst the manufacturing plant and talked to each and every person at least once a week.

#2 you have to hire the right people. Don’t be afraid to hire those perky, bouncy, ‘effervescent’ applicants who come in. They help the transition…anyone who doesn’t like them is in the wrong not the employee who happens to be acting like they’ve had too much caffeine.

#3 you can’t be afraid to jettison the raffle or malcontents if they are holding back the company. Either terminate or transfer them to a non-customer position. It may be hard to do but you do remember the song by the Jackson 5 many many moons ago? “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch’.

How difficult is it to do this?

It can be extremely difficult in companies where employees have been around for years and refuse to change because their way is the best way. They are used to utilizing their sacred cows and are set in their ways like a flag pole in concrete. In that instance you must become the tornado and rip it from the concrete, reference #3 above.

How long does it take?

In some companies it can take as few as a couple of weeks. In larger ones where the sacred cow mentality and we’ve always done it this way, and the older the employees (generally) it will take longer.

I have entered a company, managing a shift, and raised the satisfaction of internal & external customers exponentially. I have also been a facility supervisor with only 5 employees, including me, and it took 2 years!

Changing the mindset and outlook of the company culture depends greatly on the culture when you start. New management can change things, and piss people off, nearly immediately. But if they stick around for a long time, without politics entering the culture, back stabbing and lies going around, then the customer service mindset will also stick around, as long as it constantly reinforced.

Facebook.com/oneistoomany or Twitter: @robertsollars2

                                          I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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