Sixty-six percent of consumers who switch brands do so because of poor service. Excellent customer service does not begin and end with products and services offered—it starts with a high-performance workforce.
In order to offer clients a consistently outstanding level of service, organizations have to create a meaningful experience for both employees and clients. In my experience, there is a three-step recipe that produces high-performance workforces which I call The Three Cs: Commitment, Competence, and Capacity.
Your employees must be committed to the company. That starts with employees:
- Understanding the company’s brand and values
- Being able to internalize the company branding
- Being able to articulate the brand to others
- Feeling like they are a part of the company’s brand
- Feeling good about their personal job responsibilities
For example, a fast food company whose brand is “Have it Your Way,” must be sure that everyone in the company understands the company is totally customer focused. The employees must be committed to taking orders, preparing the food and delivering it to the customer however the customer requests it—all with a smile. Special order? No problem. Happy to oblige!
Your employees must have the necessary skills to do the job. Technology constantly challenges a workforce. Nothing is static anymore. New technology in computerized point of sales systems, cars, desktop and mobile word processing applications and accounting software are just a few examples of changing technology. Regulated industries have ever-changing rules. Service industry trends are continually transforming.
To stay ahead of the competition, it’s imperative for employers to:
- Screen potential employees and be confident they have the most up-to-date skills suited for their current positions
- Make sure potential employees have the desire and commitment to learn new skills
- Offer training and development programs that address changing needs within their company and/or industry
- Offer training and development programs that are geared toward the learner’s needs and methods of learning. For example, some employees learn better at a self-paced online format, while others require instructor-led classes. The key is to offer multiple methods of learning so all employees can acquire the skills to be competent and confident.
- Offer training and development that is streamlined, easy to understand and useful for their job. It’s important employees can immediately apply their new skills to their jobs, not learn theory.
The capacity for employees to use their skills is imperative. Capacity in a company involves giving the employees the right tools to do their jobs, as well as having an organizational structure that fosters employee growth.
Here are a few examples to ensure that an organization has the complete formula for a high-performance workplace:
- Be certain all the correct systems to accommodate employees are in place. When a new employee begins work in an office, be sure the day he or she arrives the desk is equipped with a working computer, telephone that is set up and office supplies. This may sound very basic, but if an employee arrives on his or her first day without a complete workspace it signals the company is disorganized.
- Be certain company infrastructure matches the technology needs and company brand. If a company’s brand is fast, but has a slow internet connection or a website that continually crashes, it doesn’t fit the brand values.
- If salespeople visit client offices, it’s important that they possess mobile tablets to share company information with clients
- If leadership training is part of an organization, be certain there are clear career paths for employees to become leaders
Having a high-performance workforce doesn’t just happen. It takes a concerted effort by company leaders to demonstrate Commitment, Competence and Capacity to its employees. Sustaining a high-performance workforce needs vigilance and attention to keep a company vital and growing.
About the author
Dr. Renee Lerche is Corporate Senior Vice President of Human Resources at H.W. Kaufman Financial Group, and is an internationally recognized expert in employee engagement, human resources management, and workforce development. She oversees the design, implementation and execution of the Kaufman Institute for Insurance Studies and all HR systems for the Kaufman family of companies, including Burns & Wilcox.