Customer Service: Developing a Service Ethos in Employees

As the owner of a small business or service company you recognize the importance of customer service. In large part, this is what sets you apart from your competitors. Let’s say you are an electrician. What makes you preferable to the dozens of electricians in your service area? What will bring new customers and keep existing customers? Customer service. You already know this. You eat, sleep, and breathe customer service. But like most owners, you aren’t always the one out in the field. Your employees – the technician, the plumber, the electrician – they are the face of your company. It’s your employees that determine the ethos of your company in the minds of customers.

Ethos: the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.1)“Ethos.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 July 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethos>.

All in a days work2)“All in a Days Work” by MFer Photography, CC BY NoDerivs 2.0 http://bit.ly/U4MBHV

Sometimes the best technician or service rep can have bad customer service skills. Customer service has value, so how do you get your employees to buy into this? Consider these suggestions to bring your employees on board and build your company’s customer service ethos.

Talk about it. A lot.

Any time you want to develop a mindset in someone you have to talk about it frequently. Repetition is the key to learning. This educational truism also applies in developing an ethos of service in your employees. So make sure to talk about the priority of customer service.

Employee Meeting 33)“Employee Meeting 3” by ICMA Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0 bit.ly/VQKQzp

  • Take a few minutes during a regular staff/employee meeting to highlight customer service.
  • While we’re on meetings; during a meeting raise a customer service issue and brainstorm with your employees how they would respond.
  • On a less formal note, mention customer service in passing as you meet an employee in the shop or hallway.
  • Tell employees how you handled a recent customer service issue.

Talking often about customer service will impress its importance on the minds of your employees. You’ve made your employees more aware of customer service. Now help motivate them to action.

Promote it. Incentivize.

Sometimes, being the point of contact for your company puts your employees in difficult situations. Complaining customers, difficulty with a job or install, or pressing personal issues; things can begin to pile up and push customer service to the side. Reward your employees for excellent customer service to help them make it a habit.

  • Set up a system to get customer feedback on your employees’ customer service.
  • Reward employees when they get a good review. Give them a gift card to Starbucks or their favorite fast food stop. Recognize them at a meeting.
  • Make it competitive. Set up a quarterly customer service competition. Arrange a higher value prize for the first employee to get a set number of positive reviews. Example: Give your employee a $75 gift certificate to a nicer local restaurant.

Your employees are mindful and motivated. Now work from the top down to make sure your customer service ethos is company-wide.

Model it. Own it.

Ultimately, you set the tone for your company. As the owner or office manager, you set the priorities for how your company will do business. While your employees represent you to the customers, you determine the direction of your company. So customer service has to start from the top. It is a top-down endeavor.

  • Make sure your office manager and staff are on the same page. When they ask you a customer service question, walk them through resolution.
  • Model customer service in front of your employees. Go out with your techs for a service call from time to time. Come out and meet a customer and show your employees the ethos of service.
  • Send an occasional email to your company reminding them of customer service.

Set your company apart from your competition with your ethos of customer service. Take your customer service to the next level. Talk about it, Incentivize it, and own it. As your employees take on this mindset and put it into practice your company will benefit from new customers and the loyalty of existing customers.

How do you develop an ethos of customer service in your company?

 

References   [ + ]

1. “Ethos.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 July 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethos>.
2. “All in a Days Work” by MFer Photography, CC BY NoDerivs 2.0 http://bit.ly/U4MBHV
3. “Employee Meeting 3” by ICMA Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0 bit.ly/VQKQzp

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