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Teach Gen Yers that Customer Service is a Skill That Does Not Become Obsolete

Posted by Tulgan, Bruce at Tuesday, 06/05/2012 8:41 am
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Sometimes Gen Yers and Zers don’t realize that customer service is an extremely valuable skill that will make them more valuable in any role in any organization. “When I’m hiring, I always look for employees with real customer service experience,” said a manager of underwriters in a large insurance company. “My people are highly analytical in their training, and their work requires them to be highly analytical. But they also have to deal with people. So finding someone who knows how to deal with people in a customer service job is a real plus to me.” Customer service is a skill that does not become obsolete. Teach Gen Yers and Zers that every single customer service interaction is an opportunity to practice and fine-tune this valuable skill.

In our seminars, we teach managers to remind Gen Yers and Zers that providing good customer service has a huge impact on their ability to enjoy work – a huge concern for today’s young people. Customers who feel ignored, underserved, or rebuffed by frontline service personnel tend to become frustrated and annoyed. These customers seek redress and create an uncomfortable atmosphere for all employees. “If a member has a miserable experience in the club, comes looking for me, and gives me a hard time, I’m going to look for the employee who’s responsible and give that person a hard time,” said the manager of a fitness club. “Keep the members happy, and we’re all going to have a better day.” In contrast, customers who feel well served tend to reflect their satisfaction, behave in a more relaxed manner, buy more, and express gratitude to service personnel.

We also teach managers to remind Gen Yers and Zers that investing effort in good service ultimately saves every employee a lot of time and energy, whereas bad customer service creates a downward spiral that makes everybody’s job harder. “Unhappy customers cause a lot of problems that you don’t see right away,” said one assistant manager in a big box chain store. “They mess up store displays, move stuff around, spoil merchandise, buy less stuff.” Unsatisfied customers are less respectful to employees and to the organization. When this downward spiral takes hold, employees spend a tremendous amount of time and energy soothing bad feelings, solving problems, and cleaning up the mess. If every frontline employee is focused on great service, unnecessary waste is kept to a minimum, and employees can use their valuable time and energy to build an upward spiral of success.

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