Whether interfacing with clients or catering a five-star restaurant, customer service is a part of the job.
However, being on the giving side of the customer service equation can be quite an exhausting and oftentimes downright upsetting affair. Employees engaged in the world of customer service can find it difficult to get in the mood, put on their game face, and rise above their own feelings and personal struggles in order to deliver quality service each and every day.
That’s why it’s wise for an employer to take the time to research and implement various team building activities and tools. Doing so can keep their team communicating, supported and overall on the same page. The results lead to happier employees and a higher degree of customer service. Here are a few activities, strategies and suggestions to consider putting into action in order to improve customer service while simultaneously improving the working conditions for your staff.
Trust can’t be purchased, nor can it be won overnight. That’s why it’s important to do things with your employees that allow your team to bond. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate event such as a trip or a retreat. It can be as simple as a company picnic where employees and their families can socialize together, getting to know each other and seeing a more human side of their co-workers and bosses outside of their typically work-focused settings. This, in its turn, can help them function better as a coherent unit while on the job.
Another great option is a group movie. In this case, you can even have the team verbally process the movie after the fact, seeing what lessons they learned and growing from each other’s perspectives. Movies are often driven by values, which can make them excellent teaching tools. Dramas like “Good Will Hunting,” for example, can be filled with lessons involving loyalty and team building. Superhero movies can be another great way to playfully touch on things like the power of not going it alone or stepping up to a challenge. Even lighter flicks like “Shrek” or “Toy Story” can help bring many of these lessons home. While these can be less attractive options for actual viewing in the theater, they can be great ways to address real-life team building topics in casual group conversation.
Teach the Importance of Teamwork
One of the best ways to have a well-functioning staff is to enable them to experience the powerful effects of teamwork. A team that works like a well-oiled machine is much more likely to successfully provide good customer service. However, as any seasoned boss will doubtless agree, this is easier said than done. One way to help your employees form a cohesive team is to come up with games that increase your employees’ ability to work together.
Some games can be teamwork focused, such as age-old classics like the human knot or an egg drop. Others can directly involve the customer service nature of their work, such as having them come up with difficult customer scenarios that are related to their own experiences with the goal of finding positive resolutions to each fictional scenario.
Clear and consistent communication is critical both in vertical as well as horizontal professional relationships. When it comes to the latter, in particular, it’s important to meet your employees where they are, rather than vice versa. Business social media accounts can be excellent ways to stay in touch with everyone in the moment.
File sharing apps like Dropbox or Google Drive can also be excellent ways to share information with multiple employees. Password safety apps like MyGlue can also be great ways to help everyone use the same business tools with less frustration. Even workflow apps like Trello, Asana, or apps for scheduling employee shifts can be instrumental in helping provide a smooth experience for both your employees and the customers they serve.
Embracing the Multigenerational Aspect
If you have a staff that has a large age range, remember that this will entail a wide disparity of values. Different generations will have different takes on how to approach things like teamwork, decision-making, planning, and even how to prioritize the customers themselves. It’s important to recognize this and help facilitate communication and a teamwork perspective that is multigenerational, taking into account differences in values as well as the benefits of things like mentoring.
While there is a plethora of modern apps that can make the internal communication of a company more efficient, there are many other ways to utilize modern technology in order to empower your employees to provide better service to your customers as well.
For example, while demographics are critical for understanding how to approach a client base, modern big data has provided the means to be much more personal in the experience we give our customers — especially when it comes to digital experiences. Taking the time to understand and implement modern tools to improve your customers’ digital experiences is a critical element to maintaining relevance in the constantly evolving customer service world.
Taking the Time to Empower Our Teams
While there are many different strategies and activities to help our teams function at optimal levels, it’s important that we keep the overall focus on creating happy and healthy employees that are empowered to deliver the best overall customer service experience possible. Simply putting unreasonable pressures and expectations on employees to perform or ignoring things like generational differences or the benefits of modern technology can hamstring our ability to provide proper leadership to our staff. Instead, we should stand alongside them and provide the knowledge and training necessary.