It comes as no surprise your customer-facing staff have a direct impact on how well your customers view your organization. Yet, Middle Market organizations don’t always capitalize on it fully. Hiring, training, and supporting your customer-facing teams are key. However, if you are not taking the time to get to know your customers through your customer-facing employees’ eyes, you are missing important information. Moreover, if those same employees aren’t involved in improving things for your customers or aren’t being engaged by your organization, you are missing out on tremendous opportunities.
Who Knows Your Middle Market Customers Best?
Do you know who listens to what your customers are saying day in and day out? Do you know what they know about your customers that go beyond reports, statistics and survey answers? Your customer facing teams likely contain extremely talented individuals who excel at listening to and anticipating customer concerns. Great customer service and support personnel do not just listen to the words being used, they actively read between the lines. So, they know why a customer is frustrated even when the customer can’t articulate it. They hear clues that help them solve problems.
Firstly, get feedback and data from these key team members often. And, set up easy paths for them to report issues. Then, seek their opinion when you design or develop products and services. Also, don’t discount all complaints, look beyond them for innovation, improvement and vital information. Ask how they think data should be tracked and what really matters to your customers.
Keep Middle Market Customers Satisfied By Putting Resources Towards Customer-Facing Roles
If you regularly refer to your customer service and support teams as the lifeblood of your company, are you demonstrating it? Are they rewarded and compensated well? Do you have ways of identifying and holding up an excellent performance in these roles? Being the front line of an organization means they take the brunt of customer frustrations and the jobs are stressful. They save tenuous relationships and develop bonds with customers that keep money coming in the door. Keeping them happy and engaged in your organization means they value what they do and who they do it for.
Do you have strong career paths for people in these roles? Do all paths lead out of the area? If so, you are only reiterating the belief these are starter positions rather than key roles within your organization. Certainly, you need to provide ways for customer-facing employees to grow and develop but you don’t need to view it as the first rung in a career ladder. Focus on keeping your customer service and support personnel satisfied because your customers will see and feel the difference.
Don’t Make Everything Textbook For Your Middle Market Customer Support Groups
Frustrated customers despise being told about company policies and employees who must deliver the bad news take the brunt of it. Empower employees as much as makes sense – it not only keeps employees happy, it means fewer hoops for customers to jump through. And, it frees up leadership and management to focus on more important things. Figure out what is appropriate, document it and make sure your customer support members know what they can do for customers.
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