A sense of urgency isn’t intended to be a feeling of stress. Rather, it is a sense that things need to be moved forward so that you don’t fall behind. When you handle your customers with a sense of urgency, this gives them the impression that serving them is important to you. It also communicates to employees that your focus is on customer service. Both these outcomes are important.
If you’d like to foster a greater sense of urgency in your company, start by soliciting feedback from customers and employees. Put comment cards in highly visible places for your customers or print comment forms on receipts. Make it a rule to ask customers for their feedback, giving special attention to your top customers. Use those comments to set standards for your business, and communicate your new standards to employees. If you’ve had a problem with customer service in the past, let customers know that you are actively seeking ways to serve them better. Give them ways to communicate directly with management, like email addresses and phone numbers.
Likewise, talk to your employees and customers. Let them know what you’re doing differently and what employee expectations are. When employees understand exactly what they need to do in order to measure up or excel, they’ll step up their performances. Gradually raise standards as they are met in order to maintain that sense of urgency, and make sure to reward your employees when they perform well.
Be an Example of Urgency
Look for ways you can streamline your business and eliminate waste. This may include sacrificing some of your own perks. If your employees see you giving things up for the sake of better customer service, it will tell them how important customer service is and allow them to see that they need to improve their own performance in this area.
Make management more visible, both among your employees and with customers. If you stay in the back office all day, employees assume you don’t know what they’re doing and customers get the impression that they are not important. In addition, when you don’t make yourself readily available, you don’t hear about problems as they happen. It is especially important that you are visible during times of crisis. Increased communication and visibility both add to the sense of urgency while you’re getting through the crisis together and give your employees reassurance that things you need to do are being done. Look for ways you can make that crisis work for you, building team spirit or demonstrating how critical preparedness is to your business.
No matter how you do it, fostering a sense of urgency will improve your customer service. Increased management visibility and communication reassure employees and encourage them to work harder, while also demonstrating to customers that their needs matter to you. Continual improvement, fostered by setting and raising goals, keeps your employees looking for better ways to serve your customers. Streamlining your business makes it more efficient and profitable, and it indicates how important core business processes are to you. If you don’t have a sense of urgency right now, the steps you must take to instill one are a bit rocky at first. However, the end results of improved customer service and higher productivity make it all worthwhile.
About the Author
Nancy Anderson is the communities and article editor for Beyond.com. Nancy has 10 years experience in the online job search business with Beyond. Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites. Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on https://twitter.com/BeyondJobs.