No matter how goods and services change, no matter how the buyer and seller transaction changes over time, the customer will always be king. To be sure, though, the customer service relationship is rapidly changing–buying things online these days requires little more than a few clicks and a credit card number.
Americans are increasingly buying goods online. Those parts of the customer service market that remain, after an increasing portion of all goods and services move to the impersonal online market, will need to look at how to recruit, retain and maximize the face to face encounter with their remaining or desired future clientele. This is an interesting challenge for companies who are trying to squeeze out profits while meeting the demands of a changing market place.
The challenges of an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse customer pool also brings to mind important workforce development challenges as companies try to customize their customer services approach to buyers with differing buying patterns and motives rooted in cultural mores and tastes.
The Gallup marketing research folks give us an important list to reflect on our human resource and workforce development challenges as these relate to our organization’s ability to win the customer relations challenge.
“Few employees are aligned with or empowered to deliver the core elements of their company’s brand identity and promise. This is according to a Gallup study of more than 3,000 randomly selected workers, which also found that only 41% of employees felt that they know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors. This suggests that too many companies are failing to help their workers understand what makes their company different and better than the rest.Executives must start by engaging their employees and then taking these steps to help their workers become effective brand ambassadors:
1. Acknowledge that all employees play a key role in bringing the brand to life. Successful branding is not just a marketing or sales function; it is an essential activity for human resources, management, and leadership.
2. Audit your internal communications to ensure that they are consistent with your brand identity and promise. Invest in making employees aware of your brand promise, and empower them to act on it.
3. Articulate what your brand represents and what you promise to your customers. Inject the core elements of your brand identity into the workplace constantly and consistently across time, locations, and channels. Use these elements to define not only how you treat your customers but also how you manage, coach, and treat your employees.”