No it’s not a typo; the only people that can be described as an asset to your business are the right people. The wrong people can bring your business to its knees.
Some businesses see their people as a competitive advantage. Once again in many cases they have it wrong. Great people are a “must have” just to be in the game, not a competitive advantage. A competitive advantage would be a company that had people with skills or qualifications that competitors don’t have.
The business would then have a marketable competitive advantage, a clear reason for a customer to choose that organisation over another.
In my years of developing the skills of customer facing staff I have been staggered to find organisations investing money in employees who were clearly not the right people to be in those key positions. In many cases business owners are looking for some miracle that will transform these people into customer service super stars. It doesn’t work like that.
We as customers regularly experience the wrong front-line customer service people, the lack of smile or spark, no empathy, lacking personality, clearly not enjoying their job and letting everyone know through their body language and attitude, how they feel.
In some of my workshops I have had people openly admit they don’t enjoy customer interaction.
Great customer experiences are delivered by great front-line people. They have energy, empathy, personality and a willingness to do the best possible job for their customers, every time. These are the people you must find and when you do, LOOK after them as well as you would like them to look after your customers. This means investing in their professional development, involving them in the business and customer experience development, seeking ideas, recognising and rewarding them for the professionals they are.
So why do many organisations get it so wrong? One of the main reasons is a tendency to focus on the skills they have to do the job over and above their all important people skills. When recruiting customer facing people, their people skills should always be number one. You can teach job skills but people skills are linked to a person’s personality and if that’s not your natural personality, nothing will change.
Great customer service people become super stars because they work for organisations that encourage, support and create a culture that allows them to be stars. Many organisations have made the mistake of thinking that if they could lure these people away from a competitor they would then have the competitive advantage.
Once again that just demonstrates the lack of understanding as to the total recipe that is required for these people to shine.
So the next time you are lucky enough to be looked after by one of these people just pause a minute to take in the total package that is allowing them to be a real asset to the business.
- Chris Bell is managing director of Customer Experiences, a company that specialises in helping businesses improve the way in which they interact with customers and clients. – firstname.lastname@example.org; www.customerexperiences.co.nz