What is our metric for assessing the performance of our representatives when it comes to their representation of who we are, what we do, why we do it, and how we do it?
How certain are we that we have 'A' players on our team? How many 'A' players do you need? How many 'B' players? Is there room for 'C' players?
As managers, how overwhelmed are we in managing the support, processes, procedures, quantities, qualities, and products of our department or division, that we find ourselves shrugging off mediocre customer interaction by our sales team? We thank the stars they maintain a good relationship with the customer. But, if we're honest with ourselves, a 'good relationship' is code for complacency. Is this fair to the company? Is it fair to your team? When it comes to 'representation', who's failing and who's truly succeeding? Is it you, as the manager, or is it the individuals who meet with customers day in and day out?
'Representation' mode versus 'Professional Representation' mode
Whether we like to think it or not, we are almost always in 'representation mode'. The minute we are visible to other people we unconsciously enter 'representation mode'. Our behavior changes to reflect the fact that we are no longer alone. Even if we don't interact with the other person, our entire demeanor changes. For most of us, it's about being respectful of others. The things we would do when entirely alone in our house we would not do in the presence of others.
but professional representation comes into play when we are in 'work-mode' and we're appointed to act or speak in a professional manner, on behalf of the organization we represent.
Your organization is represented by its people and your customer-facing personnel are in positions where they can do the most to ensure your business thrives, or do the least to consign your reputation to mediocrity.
If you're a leader of a team, department, or division that includes customer facing representatives (face-to-face and/ or remote), managing consistency in professional representation across your personnel team is a huge challenge. You know there are consequences from organizational representation done poorly, but what about from average and mediocre representation? Sales of the quality and function of a company's products will win in the short term, but the interpersonal skills of company representatives will dictate the company's long-term financial success with the customer.
Embracing these five key skills as a pre-requisite for your customer facing team members will get your organization on the right track to ensure you are continuously and professionally well represented in front of your customers.
The Five Key Skills
The decline in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)
Does this include your customers? How do you know? Do you survey them? They are constantly being sought out by your competitors, but they don't tell you. Or do they?