Managing customer relations—are your employees representing you properly?

by | Oct 24, 2019 | Analysis, Public Relations

It’s no secret that customer relations are an important part of business. However, despite this, serious efforts to manage interactions between employees and customers are rarely undertaken. Unless there is a serious issue, many managers are happy to just let things continue as they will. But there’s value to be gained in monitoring these relationships more carefully.

How behavior impacts relationships

Unsurprisingly, how people act affects how others perceive them. This extends to when someone is representing a brand.

While team members shouldn’t be expected to undergo abuse from aggressive customers, they should be expected to prioritize customer satisfaction. After all, your business’ customers are essential to your continued success. Employees are part of the team to benefit the overall progress of the business. Therefore, properly managing customer relationships is essential.

Qualities of beneficial employee behavior

Developing strong customer relationships through behavior that benefits the brand is important. These are some behavioral factors that have an impact on brand perception:

  • Showing kindness towards customers, even if they are making difficult requests.
  • Welcoming people when they interact with the business, such as smiling when a customer enters a store or being positive upon receiving a phone call.
  • Being responsive to communication in a timely manner.
  • Understanding that customers are essential to the business and acting accordingly.
  • Demonstrating optimism about the brand and being able to help customers.
  • Focusing on finding solutions for problems.

These factors are largely obvious, but they are important to reinforce. Being kind towards a customer is easy once. It can be less easy to do continuously, especially when a customer relationship is not at its peak. Responsiveness is an especially common issue in office work. People sometimes get busy and neglect to respond to a customer by accident.

Understanding the behaviors that influence customer relationships and working to enhance and promote them is beneficial to your business’ overall success.

How to encourage more positive relationships

It’s easy to understand why relationships are important and how behavior affects them. However, turning that understanding into organizational policy and strategy is less simple.

One way to help promote more positive behavior is through culture. People who are working in friendly and supportive environments tend to be kinder to others. Cultural development can have a major impact on customer relationships.

Giving people the right tools to properly interact also helps. Disruptive, frustrating technology can mean that your team members are automatically in a negative mood when needing to interact with customers. Furthermore, they are less able to help customers due to those limitations. The right toolset can make a world of difference.

Performance expectations should also be set reasonably. For example, if a team member is expected to handle one customer email every 30 seconds, he or she is not going to put a lot of effort into each one. Finding the right balance of quantity vs. quality is work is easier with the right performance management tools.

Most people want to be good at their jobs. Additionally, people want to get along with others. The more you can empower your people to provide value to your customers, accomplish their responsibilities and otherwise perform well, the more they will want to do it. This idea has driven the trend of servant leadership. In this concept, it is the job of a leader to empower their people rather than manage them.

In many ways, employee behavior problems tend to be leadership problems

If organizational leaders are negative and not interested in employee problems, those same team members won’t be interested in customers’ problems. Starting at the top is the best way to ensure positive customer relationships.

Ensuring positive employee behavior isn’t a simple task. However, it is worth it to ensure better customer relationships and a stronger bottom line. It is easier with the right tools and strategies. Learning how to build and measure a supportive culture is the first step to success.

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Jeremy Sutter
Jeremy Sutter is a freelance writer and former mobile marketing manager at Adobe.

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