For many organizations, there is a “Love-Hate” relationship between the executive team and the management and sales, or customer service segment of the company. It seems as though the customer service and sales team are constantly bringing complaints or troubles to the table, or simply don’t seem focused on the details that operations or the executive team members want. There’s also the impression that the sales and customer service members are only motivated by monetary reward or promotions. These factors create increased tension between your “Front-of-house” or Front Line staffers and the executive team within the company. But this tension is important to over come for your company to make the best use of the leadership potential that is in that department.
Front Line sales leaders need support and need to feel, on a consistent basis, that they are a central part of the success of the company. There are three basic reasons why this is important:
1) These managers are the ones that MOST influence the customers of your company – Their attitude and their vision will have the most tangible affect on your customers’ perspective of your company.
2) Because of their position in the company, they are the first line to
a. Understand Customers’ needs
b. See your Competition’s tactics and actions as they relate to your customers as well as your product / service
c. Execute and implement the company strategy as “first contact” to the marketplace.
3) And, more than any other area of the company; these frontline managers are prime candidates for executive positions within the company, fostering secure future growth.
In the case of Frontline managers influencing your customers, as stated in point one above; listen to Michael talk about the effect created by Frontline management in a real-life scenario:
[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://essentiaba.com/wp-content/uploads/audio/Frontline-Case1.mp3″] < CLICK TO PLAY “Michael Andersen – “Frontline Case 1” AUDIO
In reality, the best policy for this particular scenario would have been to see the situation through the eyes of the customer and treat the customer accordingly. This illustrates perfectly that if you don’t treat your Front Line Leaders as “Brand Ambassadors” for the company, infusing them with positive perspectives, you end up with an outcome that results in a poor customer experience. In this particular situation, the experience tainted the potential of Michael referring their services and “hospitality” to others.
In the following segment, Michael goes into detail about the experience and how he explained to the executive team of the hotel what had happened and how their customer had been treated.
[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://essentiaba.com/wp-content/uploads/audio/Frontline-Case2.mp3″] < CLICK TO PLAY “Michael Andersen – “Frontline Case 1” AUDIO
As you hear, the responses from the executive team are perfect examples of how mission-critical strategies can be disconnected simply by not empowering your Frontline Leadership with the tools needed to create a pleasant customer experience and fully understand your company’s competitive advantages.
It’s also important to note, the managers within your company that are in charge of the customer experience are also in charge of the morale of this front line team. The staff on the front line is confronted with customer challenges on a daily basis – some that are easy to manage, some that are trying and more difficult. If you’re not constantly supplying positive and morale-boosting experiences into this front line staff, they won’t have enough positive energy left when it comes to dealing with any level of conflict.
Finally, and ultimately looking forward, those you have in Front Line Management are perfectly positioned for executive growth within the company for one simple reason. Their ability to understand the marketplace – both from a customer perspective as well as a competition perspective – gives them a futuristic outlook on the company that separates them from traditional “what have we done and how can we make it a little better” perspectives of many other departments. This forward-looking position gives the company the advantage of seeing and, more importantly, understanding what challenges, changes and opportunities may be coming down the pike, instead of worrying what last month’s budget sheets are forecasting.
With the right support and commitment, your front line employees can be some of your company’s biggest assets. By allowing them to be your Brand Ambassadors and giving them a voice when it comes to moving the customer experience through the sales cycle, they can be very important contributors to the success and growth of your company.
With over two decades of leadership coaching and management training, the Essentia team can help you and your company integrate some best practices within your employee management programs. These address specifically the management solutions targeting successes that are possible within your front line. For additional leadership development and strategies from Essentia Business Advisors, please contact Michael Andersen via our website or at (515) 344-4EBA.