No matter how much new technology exists, customers are still customers, and they have emotions that can easily be tapped, for better or worse! You can have all the best products, and provide exceptional after-purchase service — but it is all lost if you never get the opportunity to make the sale!
The people on the front lines, whether they are face-to-face with customers or communicate via technology and telephone, are the most important, and often least trained, employees in your business! Here are three ways you can help your front-line folks present your company with pizzazz and professionalism!
- Be sure every single person understands the company mission, vision, products, and special offers. I know, this sounds so obvious! But you would be amazed (or maybe not!) to realize how often a customer is met with a blank stare, or a vacant voice saying “I don’t know” or “It’s not my job… ” Include your front-line people in on sessions where everyone shares examples of the company vision & mission in action, so they feel a sense of ownership in the business. It is impossible to present something you do not understand!
- Provide training to your front line in cutting edge communication skills. I’m not talking about the basic sending-receiving type of stuff. I’m talking about knowing what you want to communicate, and then using professional presentation techniques to share your messages with power, professionalism, and pizzazz. I’m talking about vocal variety, pausing, compassionate exchange, clarity, and vocal energy to connect with customers at an emotional level.
- Trust your front line staff to make decisions in the best interest of the business! This one is critical, but takes commitment on your part to provide the skills they need! Eliminate handcuffing rules and policies. Clarify the bottom-line expectations, then help your staff learn how to make wise decisions related to customers. Share examples, set up realistic scenarios, meet to discuss sticky situations, provide clear boundaries they can work within without the need to get you involved – do what it takes to free your front-line staff to be your best sales force, your most powerful advocates! Then support them in what they do!
And now, a Bonus (again so obvious it should not need to be said – but experience tells me I need to say it!):
- Recognize outstanding work when you see it! Your front line staff has a tough job that often goes unappreciated and unrecognized. Their work is taken for granted and the value of their efforts is overlooked. Make time to demonstrate the benefits of what they do, and how much you appreciate their work. And above all, ask them what recognition looks like to them. so you can be sure that your efforts aren’t wasted!
You bet your bottom-line success on the abilities of your front-line people to make powerful, professional connections with current and potential customers! Are you doing everything you can to guarantee success?