Do you ever go to meetings or training classes with new, random groups of people and have to complete those ice breaker activities? You’re going about your day, getting “real work” done, and then you have to stop what you’re doing to go play silly games and interact with people? It can feel really uncomfortable to get into these new situations with these new people outside of our comfort zones. But these exercises tend to be effective tools to take us out of our current mindset, outside of our comfort zone and get us into a more open and relaxed frame of mind. The truth is that learning new things and working well in groups is an important part of our jobs.
I bring up these scenarios because customer service can feel that way. Employees that interact with customers are typically have “down time” responsibilities such as filing, sending emails and the like that they complete between customer interactions. If there is a slow period with few customers, good momentum can build on those offline tasks. The first customer that requires assistance can feel like an unwanted interruption just when progress is being made. That can create stress, and allow a mindset to creep in that taking care of customers is interfering with the ability for the employee to take care of the customer’s immediate needs.
It’s helpful for us as leaders to recognize this challenge from our employees’ viewpoint and to help provide tools for employees to remember to switch mindsets and remember to put the customer first.
Tools To Help Remind Employees That Customers Come First
- Model Behavior – Model the behavior yourself by stepping up and happily taking care of customer issues prior to daily chores
- Discussion – Point out opportunities you notice, and suggest alternatives
- Display – post your customer service vision and goals where employees can see them.
See if some of these steps help improve customer experience for your company!