A Contented and Empowered Front-Line Crew Helps You Win Big

Follow these handy reminders on how to build a better customer service culture in your portable sanitation business

A Contented and Empowered Front-Line Crew Helps You Win Big

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Everyone has experienced this at one time or another: What you thought was going to be a simple everyday transaction for a product or service turned out to be an experience that earned your lifetime loyalty as a customer. Sadly, it doesn’t happen very often.

How do you create a culture that encourages your crew to deliver this kind of customer care on a routine basis? Consider these tips to raise your customer service performance and gain a more loyal following in the months and years ahead:

Focus on front-line staff: Your workers who interact directly with your customers are the most important people in your organization. It’s the front-line employee who is friendly and patient, who smiles all the time and who remembers the customers’ names and business needs. That person will ultimately make or break a company. Make sure you treat them with the time and attention they deserve and they will treat your customers the same way. 

Have a real relationship with your customer: Recognize the relationship you have with your customer should not be simply transactional. Of course it’s important to look for opportunities to make transactions simpler, easier and more pleasant for customers. But it’s also imperative that you add value to their lives in ways that are unrelated to the transaction. Look for ways to be a resource — not just a provider.

Develop a customer-first culture: Improving your company culture starts with a slow and methodical hiring process. The time, money and productivity lost on a hire who is inconsistent with a company’s culture is immeasurable. Take your time and hire the right people. Then focus on their development. They in turn will grow the business. Customer loyalty is built by people, not in spite of them. 

Cultivate reciprocity: We are hard-wired to do more for those who do things for us. When it rains, Chick-fil-A has employees wearing ponchos run to people’s cars when they pull in and hold an umbrella over them while they walk inside. And then escort them back to their cars when they have finished their meal. It’s no wonder its average revenue per location is three times the average of most quick-serve restaurants while only being open six days a week. The key is reciprocity.

Eliminate policies: “I’m sorry, ma’am. That’s just our policy.” These words should never be uttered in business. They reveal to your customer that your culture values adherence to arbitrary rules more than customer satisfaction. You should have only one policy: Do everything within your power to exceed your customers’ expectations.

Empower your team: Every team member should feel empowered to do what is right in each specific situation. “Let me ask my manager” tells your customers that you don’t trust your employees’ discretion or decision-making. And if you don’t trust the people you hire, why should your customers trust they will have a consistently great experience?

Celebrate: Everybody loves a winner, and nobody wants to be on the losing team. Customers want to feel like the money they spend is making the world a better place. Publicly celebrate your wins, your anniversaries, your employees’ accomplishments (both in and out of work), your growth, your community engagement, your awards and your achievements. Did one of your employees get a college degree? Have a baby? Compete in a triathlon? Celebrate it. This has the added advantage of developing employee loyalty as well as customer loyalty. 

Raise the stakes: Service innovation inherently means you are challenging the assumptions of traditional expectations. On the flip side is the realization that doing something new is also a new opportunity to fail. Fortunately, studies have shown customers value your effort nearly as much as the result. As such, they are incredibly forgiving of failure so long as every effort was made to succeed. So challenge your team and yourself. Raise the stakes. Go big. Consistent yet average is still unimpressive.

Have a mission: People are not motivated by what; people are motivated by why. Where you spend your money is a major part of your identity. Customers align themselves with organizations that mirror who they are, or at least who they’d like to be. Therefore, the motives that drive your organization also drive your customers’ loyalty. Without a mission, you and your customer have no “why.”


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