Lead the customer service teamBY ARA Retail Institute
Leadership is all about influencing the actions of others and helping your team to enjoy the satisfaction of high achievement. It is an important part of giving great customer service and building strong relationships with your customers.
To learn how to steer your success as a team leader, the ARA Retail Institute runs workshops on leadership and team culture.
The most inspiring and effective managers are those who lead by example and establish a positive feeling in the workplace. They act as great role models for their team. In the high pressure customer service environment, this is really important. Managers who lead by example can effectively demonstrate what is required for good workplace behaviour from all members of the team.
Motivate the team
The goal of a Manager or Supervisor is to create an environment in which team members are motivated to achieve high standards of performance and service to customers. But this is not as easy as it sounds. Every person is unique and we all have different things that personally motivate us. So, you need to work out what motivates each team member.
Some common motivators are:
- A sense of achievement
- Having opportunities for advancement.
- Feeling like they belong in the workplace
- Job security
- Variety within their role
To create a positive atmosphere that helps to motivate your team, you should:
- Include everyone when setting goals
- Provide constructive feedback on performance on a regular basis
- Ensure all employees have an individual development plan
- Undertake team building activities
- Recognise and reward achievement.
The best approach when communicating in the workplace is to try and involve the team. This process is consultation.
Effective consultation gives team members the opportunity to provide and receive information and to participate in discussion on important matters affecting the workplace. When teams are involved in decision making it helps to create a culture where everyone feels valued, which ultimately leads to a better working environment. It also encourages employees to:
- Take ownership of issues
- Develop problem solving and communication skills
- Contribute their skills and experience
It is a good idea to consult teams about the allocation of tasks to help ensure that everything gets done within the day.
Throughout the consultation process it is important to provide ongoing feedback to the team. This ensures they have up-to-date information and will encourage further contributions and ideas. On the other hand, you should also seek feedback from your staff. Ask them for their ideas on how to improve processes, on the standard of customer service in the store, on what you can do to achieve sales targets, etc.
Sometimes, their feedback will be valuable and can be actioned immediately. At other times, you may not be able to implement their ideas. Whatever the case, it is important to:
- Appreciate - First and foremost, appreciate it. Appreciate that they are offering their thoughts and that they took the time to do so. Express this clearly and in the simplest of terms. “Thank you. I appreciate your perspective.”
- Acknowledge - Take the time to review what they say and consider their position and where they are coming from. Once you understand what they are suggesting, say so. “I understand what you are saying.” “I can see what you mean.”
- Consider - Finally, since you have expressed your appreciation and acknowledged their ideas, consider the points they’ve raised. See the value in what they are saying.
Communicate with management
Effective communication in the workplace is essential to running a successful business. Without it, you could miss out on important opportunities, waste time and cause your employees and customers to become frustrated. One of the main factors that influence workplace communication is how well you communicate with management.
In a retail store, the customer service staff are at the ‘cold face’. They are dealing with customers every day and should therefore have a good understanding of the positives and negatives that are happening with their customers. They can provide important feedback on how well the existing policies and procedures are working, and how they could be improved.
This is valuable information that needs to be passed onto management. Management must be made aware of the impact of current store policies on service issues and how they affect the operation of the store.
There are many different ways that you can use to communicate with management. The method chosen depends on the information and on the communication style of your organisation. Possible communication channels include:
- Tell them face to face
- Send an email
- Arrange a meeting
- Phone them
- Raise the issue at a conference
Whatever method is chosen, it is important that the information which is given to management is clear and concise so they can see where the problem or opportunity is.
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ARA Retail Institute
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. The ARA Retail Institute is a Government Registered Training Organisation (RTO) making it fully qualified to offer retail education programs to ARA members and broader retail industry.