So often a business’s focus is on customer service—that which is afforded to customers. However, just as important is ‘internal customer service’; service afforded to each team member from their peers and management. Is there a link between engaged customers and engaged team members through service?

Over the past 2 decades my company has developed assessments and surveys to measure the link and there’s overwhelming data that confirms that if a team member is engaged then the engagement they have with the customer moves the interaction from ‘so-so’ to ‘wow’—going above and beyond their expectations.

We encourage engagement with our customers by connecting with them, building rapport, offering them options, adding value, creating a memorable experience so they will return and tell others. Consider what you do to engage your team members. What service are you providing your team?

4 areas for an internal service audit

  1. Workplace culture

Team members who are positively engaged in their role will provide an enthusiastic welcome and offering to your customers.

An engaged team won't happen if managers don't get to know the members and then give them the role that match their strengths.

  • Know their stories—take time to get to know the people who you work with
  • Ignite the potential of individuals—getting them into the right role
  • Build trust and emphasise the positives
  1. Behind the scenes

If you are the CEO of a restaurant with amazing décor, a showroom proudly displaying products, a reception area with the most comfortable lounge and the latest magazines or a venue with facilities that have your guests ‘oohing and ahhing’, your customers are almost certainly engaged. But what about you team? What’s going on behind the scenes? Is it a backroom that is used for storing Christmas decorations, recycling, paperwork that needs filing, boxes of products, a swivel chair with one roller missing, a chair that desperately needs a new cushion and your old kitchen table to be used by staff when they are having a break?

The ‘staff room’ becomes the dumping ground and may eventually becomes an unpleasant place so that team members don’t feel welcome.

Ways to improve the environment

  • Take a close look at the furniture, what needs replacing?
  • Crockery, cups and cutlery is it chipped and mismatched? It’s great to be funky but when it’s mismatched because it’s 10 years old and broken, it’s not.
  • What do the walls and decorations say about you, the business and the team?
  1. Training

All team members need training (even the CEO). Changing demographics and needs of the customers requires leaders to be ahead on what’s happening and for the whole team to be knowledgeable on what the new thing’ is in your industry.

Skills training is a necessity and may just be a one-off course with regular updates. However, customer service needs to be a continual cycle in order to get the best from your team and provide the VIP experience to every customers every time.

Having the team engaged and accountable for the customer experience in the business is critical in growing the business.

  1. Team members need to be engaged

Disgruntled customers will not return or refer others to your business, no matter how good your product is—there will always be another business that can provide the same (or close to).

The engaged customer is one who ‘feels’ the service experience. It’s the delivery of the ‘please and thank you’ from the team member who is engaged with the business.

6 top ways your team can engaged with your customers:

  • Natural smile—mouth and eyes
  • Positive body language—open arms, standing tall
  • Recognition of regular customers—he use of their name or remembering what their ‘usual’ order is
  • Friendly and warm welcome to new customers
  • Dressed and groomed to suit the business culture
  • Premises presentation—clean and well maintained

Engaged team equals engaged customers

Your business depends on the service that your team provides to your customers. As a business owner or manager you need to review the following and create an action plan.

  • Recruit team members with the right attitude that fit your organisational culture.
  • Update policies and keep current with trends that may impact on your business, directly or indirectly
  • Communicate to your team the expectations and changing needs of the customer.
  • Review frontline training for all team members
  • Review customer feedback with team members
  • Recognise programs for team members
  • Recognition and loyalty programs for customer

From years of research we know that businesses who engage their team have long-term growth as well as long-term team members who are proud of the company they work for. You cannot be a ‘solo’ CEO you need the team and they need you. Take the time to engage them and see the positive link that transpires with your customers.