We’ve all heard the old adage that it takes much more to gain and new client than retain a current one. If that’s the case, why do companies seem to do so little to keep existing customers happy — at least from the customer’s point of view?
To understand why customer service standards often go awry, we have to look at front-line employees, the people who do most of the interacting with passengers on a daily basis.
There are a variety of reasons why front-line employees may not be creating great experiences for your customers: poor hiring practices and job assignments, a lack of standards or insufficient training. Read on for practical ways to get your front-line employees putting customer service first.
1. Select the right people, and put them in the right positions.
Recruiting and hiring good employees is difficult, especially in a high-turnover industry like aviation services. But putting the effort into employee selection on the front end can pay dividends in the long run in the form of satisfied, loyal customers who tell their friends about your company.
As you interview employees, place a stronger emphasis on personality. Even consider using a personality assessment tool to get a true picture of a person’s character traits. Those who are friendly, outgoing, and enthusiastic often make for great customer service employees. Employees who lack these traits can still be effective, but may be more valuable, and have increased job satisfaction, in a non-customer-facing role.
2. Establish and communicate customer service standards.
Employees may simply not know what you expect of them in terms of customer service, or they may not feel empowered to properly address passenger issues. To remedy this, clearly outline your expectations, demonstrating exactly how you expect them to speak and act as they work with customers. Provide real-world examples of how to handle the most common passenger requests and complaints. Consider putting your customer service standards into a memorable mantra that employees can embrace.
3. Provide ongoing customer service training.
Over-the-top customer service is not natural to everyone. And it’s easy for the pressures of life and work to sap the positive energy out of harried employees. Ongoing customer service training is essential to ensure employees keep it top of mind. While most companies provide some initial customer service training during orientations, consider daily or weekly “talks” to remind employees of your standards and expectations.
In today’s competitive marketplace, adequate customer service is not enough. Selecting and placing the right front-line employees and equipping them to exceed customer service expectations are the keys to loyal, enthusiastic customers.