Friday 24 September 2010

Receptionist and Call Centre Agent - the two most important people in your business

Why is it that businesses who know nothing always put their most junior and most inexperienced  members of staff on either the reception desk or at the end of the telephone?  Logic would tell you that it is very likely (in fact, I would bet my ever decreasing pension on it) that your current customers, your future customers and your competition are going to visit you or call you up.  Surely any sane minded person would want their very best staff to be the ones who speak to your customers?  And yet, all too often, you are faced with staff who do not live your brand, who know too little about your products and services, and care even less - is this really the image that you want your customers to see?  I would think (and hope) not!
So, what should you do?  I would recommend that, as a first step, you put yourself in the shoes of your customer - visit your offices and ring your call centre to see what it is like to be a customer of yours.  Ask yourself these questions:  How long did I wait to be attended to?  How was I greeted when I got through to someone?  Did the member of staff know the answers to my questions?  At any time did I feel like putting the phone down/walking out in frustration?  If you felt like this, the chances are that your customers have felt like that too (I doubt very much if your call or visit would have been unique - although you might want to kid yourself that is the case!)
Secondly, you should review your recruitment strategy.  If you hire people because they are cheap, then you will always (and I do mean ALWAYS) get what you pay for.  Hire for attitude and train for aptitude (because, lets face it, you can NEVER change someones attitude, and if that does not match your company ethos.......well, the rest is history!)
Thirdly, give staff the right tools to do the job - whether this is training or systems, make sure that staff have everything they need to be able to serve your customers right.
And finally, encourage staff to think of customer facing jobs as careers - promote them within these roles rather than out of them.  Promoting people within a role gives staff the belief that YOU believe in excellent customer service.
Oh, and it wouldnt hurt to occasionally tell staff when they have done a good job - a word of thanks goes a long way.
read more about improving customer service within your organisation at

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