Asking these self-evaluation questions can help businesses understand how employee job satisfaction affects customer service quality.
- Our people have the right skills and knowledge to perform their work well.
- We regularly monitor employee satisfaction and act on the findings.
- We recognize the performance and behavior of outstanding individuals and teams.
- We empower our people to deliver service excellence.
- When recruiting and developing people we focus on attitudes first.
Our people have the right skills and knowledge to perform their work well
Tip #3, Using employee satisfaction and customer service excellence, is excerpted from Chapter 4 of the book Business Success Through Service Excellence, by Moira Clark and Susan Baker, published by Butterworth-Heinemann, a division of Elsevier, 2004.
The advantage of adopting such a thorough formal approach is that it makes it abundantly clear to everyone in the organization what standard of work and behavior is expected from the start. It leaves little room for "staff to do their own thing" or even to undermine the company training schemes. However, no matter how well the training is organized and the skills and knowledge to do the job communicated, staff will not excel at their job unless they can work in a culture and climate that fosters service excellence. Many of the best training schemes in the country have failed because returning staff are informed by their colleagues "not to take any notice of that, that's not how we do things around here!" or "who do they think they are, we know how to deal with customers and it's not like that!" This is known as "informal socialization" and can be very powerful in determining peoples' behavior when they are at work. It would seem, therefore, that where the successful companies have succeeded is that they have been able to harness "formal socialization" through the training programs and "informal socialization" through word of mouth to ensure that they say the same thing. That is, what is preached is actually practiced in the organization and that when staff return from training programs that enhance their skills and knowledge, they are able to practice their newfound skills in an environment that is supportive and helpful.
It is important to remember that there is a real difference between training and learning. Typically, training is measured by testing people, but learning is measured by testing the results of what they do. To learn to do something we must both study and practice. Put another way you can acquire the skills and the knowledge but you have not learned anything until you have put this into practice. This is what "real" learning is about and this is what the best service excellence companies have achieved. They have recognized that training can only take them so far and that at some point learning must take over. They also recognize that people learn best when they enjoy the learning process and when it is fun.
Download the rest of this chapter on employee job satisfaction.
Customer service excellence: Six tips in six minutes
Tip 1: Using customer intelligence in a service strategy
Tip 2: Improving customer service with effective business processes
Tip 3: Employee satisfaction and customer service excellence
Tip 4: Building a service strategy with organizational leadership
Tip 5: Change management in a customer service strategy
Tip 6: Customer service excellence best practices
These chapter excerpts from Business Success Through Service Excellence, by Moira Clark and Susan Baker, are used by permission from Elsevier Publishing. Published by Butterworth-Heinemann, a division of Elsevier, 2004.
This was first published in August 2007