Your Team Should See People, Not Dollar Signs: The pressure is on in the business world — pressure to be the biggest and best, to have the highest sales and most market share.
That’s important. Competitive spirit is what keeps a business alive, growing and thriving. But when you’re focused on figures, percentages, balance sheets and analytics, it’s easy to lose sight of the people behind the numbers.
It’s also easy to transmit that focus into your company culture. If the leaders of an organization are in pursuit of quick sales and high profits to the exclusion of all else, that preference will echo through all levels of the organization — including customer-facing staff.
Your customers are smart and savvy. They know when they’re valued and when they’re not, and in today’s culture of digital convenience, it’s easier than ever for them to take their business elsewhere.
So, it’s time for a shift of focus. Instead of coaching your team to sell, sell, sell, coach them to serve, serve, serve. Remember the people behind the dollar signs, and focus on solving their problems instead to taking their money.
As Bruce Kasanoff wrote for Forbes:
Every single day, you encounter opportunities to serve others. The more of these opportunities you embrace, the more you will build and nurture true human connections. No single one of these good deeds may result in more money or a new job for you. But collectively, they will lead to a rich and rewarding career.
When you make this shift, you’ll see a transformation take place. Your customers will be happier. You’ll see more repeat business and fewer bad online reviews. But also, your staff will be happier and more fulfilled in their jobs. Serving and helping others has a healing and calming effect, so let your team take a break from the rat race and do what they do best.
Find the problem — then solve it
The first step to serving instead of selling is to identify why customers come to you. No matter what industry you’re in, people seek your product or service because it helps them solve a problem in their own lives.
What is the problem? How does your company help? What does your company do that no one else does?
The answers to these questions will give your service focus, and they will enable your team to expand on that focus, finding better and innovative ways to solve your customers’ problems. Encourage them to keep serving the customer after the sale is made. Follow through and proactively reach out to each customer to make sure their problem is solved, and keep serving them until it is.
Enable your team to do this by taking the focus off flat sales figures and placing it on other measurable results like positive online reviews or repeat customers. Include enhanced customer service training and be sure to model the desired behavior yourself.
Fine-tune the customer experience
Serving the customer also means paying attention to their interactions with your company. It should be easy and pleasurable to do business with you, but remember that the customer experience starts long before they contact you.
Empower your team to track and hone the customer experience from beginning to end. This way, you make them into servant-leaders who anticipate customer needs and proactively display the benefits of your product or service.
Customers are researching companies and forming opinions online without ever speaking to a human being. And they’re wanting to contact you at any hour on their own terms. Make their first online impression of you memorable, easy to understand and pleasant. Then, make it easy for them to reach out to your staff however they feel most comfortable, and encourage your staff to tailor the means of communication to the customer. This could mean phone, email, text, social media or website chat.
Be sure to give your staff the tools to engage the customer no matter when first contact happens. Pay attention to reviews, surveys and feedback and use that information to coach your staff in servant-leadership.
Don’t rely on price
Some business leaders see price as the be-all-end-all of customer service. If a customer is dissatisfied, give them a discount. If it’s hard to make a sale, cut the price. That’s a mistake. Competing on price alone leads to failure. The best, most successful brands — like Disney or Chick-Fil-A — set a foundation of fantastic, over-the-top customer experience and compete from there.
In today’s experience economy, service is the only true value proposition. Anticipating and exceeding customer expectation allows your team to compete beyond price, taking pride in their work and the good they do in people’s lives. Turn your team into heroes of customer service, and you’ll see your company culture transform into a positive, upbeat atmosphere.
And just like customers can tell when they’re just another sale, they can tell when a company takes real pleasure in making their lives better. A positive atmosphere is infectious. When customers realize that your team truly has their best interests at heart, you have won the moment. You’ve created lifelong, loyal customers who will become your best brand cheerleaders.
Transform your team today
With this simple paradigm shift, your business can grow beyond your expectations. Flip the script across your entire organization to focus on the human factor — the needs of the people behind your sales. You’ll see a transformation for the better, and you’ll reap the rewards in a more loyal, reliable customer base. These sales are a foundation to build upon for future growth. All you have to do is serve, and the sales will follow.
Written by Brigham Dickinson.
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