Paying attention to employee needs lends itself to great customer service

Building an excellent customer service-centered brand begins internally with quality leadership, which creates the best opportunities to engage employees who are then able to provide excellent service.

It takes a companywide commitment to provide high quality customer service and to get the buy-in from employees.

“At the same time, executives and managers also have to be committed to providing top-notch service — and not just to customers,” says Steve Brubaker, chief of staff at InfoCision Management Corp. “Paying attention to your employees’ thoughts and needs helps you create a company culture that lends itself to great service.”

Smart Business spoke with Brubaker on how leadership techniques can motivate employees to deliver top customer service.

Where does a company begin when developing employee engagement?

One of the most crucial responsibilities of an executive or business owner is to bring in high-quality talent when employees leave or new positions are created.

Once the company brings new hires on-board, it’s equally critical to integrate them into the company culture and help them reach their ultimate potential.

When hiring and training new talent, a company simply cannot ignore fundamental differences that exist between today’s newest workforce members and past generations. It’s important to recognize that millennials, those born in the 1980s or 1990s, entering the workforce today have a much different view of what a career path might look like than previous generations did.

What should be remembered about the increase of millennials in the workforce?

A company’s attitude toward millennial employees should be similar to its approach to customers. The same way that looking out for customers’ interests builds brand loyalty, valuing young employees’ interests by helping them develop professionally helps them feel connected to the company and want to stay there for years.

The way employees are treated will trickle down to help improve an organization’s quality of customer service. From the young worker’s perspective — if the employee only plans to be with a company for three to five years, that is going to be reflected in the way he or she deals with customers.

But as millennials become more connected to an organization, they also grow closer to customers, which shows up in the quality of service they offer. Of course not every employee is going to become a company lifer, but to become a truly great organization, a company needs to get buy-in from its rising stars to make sure they stick around.

How difficult is it to bridge the generational gap in the workplace?

It is possible, which is why company leaders should invest some time to learn more about the millennial mindset. Read books like “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success” by Dan Schawbel, and engage with these young people as much as possible around the office with one-on-one meetings, town hall sessions and friendly small talk.

Despite the cultural differences, empowering Generation Y workers to grow professionally benefits everybody. It allows them to turn a job into a career and helps a company increase profitability. In other words, it is the ultimate win-win.

What else may help company leaders build a customer service-centered brand?

Listening more, talking less. Employees generally listen when a member of the C-suite speaks. But that doesn’t mean the leader should always be the one speaking or making decisions. Now is an optimal time to adopt an open door policy if you don’t have one. Executive leadership’s openness and sincerity go a long way toward getting the team behind the company leader.

Present a clear vision. Employees want to know the executive has a firm grasp on what the next 12 months should look like. Rather than speaking in generalities, a leader should make an effort to present specific companywide goals and lay out the path employees should take to reach those objectives.

Encourage professional development. One of the most effective ways to lead is by giving employees the chance to develop new skills and shine brightly.

Insights Teleservices is brought to you by InfoCision