John Montanaro

SME/SOHO Development and Support Manager, Vodafone Malta

John Montanaro is the Development and Support Manager for Small to Medium Enterprises and Small Offices/Home Offices at Vodafone Malta.

The Importance Of Supporting Frontline Staff

Tuesday 10th July 2018

In the eyes of your customers, your frontline staff is the face of the company - this is where first impressions are formed, and first impressions matter. It only takes three seconds for a customer to evaluate you and your company and, often enough, first impressions set the tone for the relationship that follows. The way a frontline employee interacts with a customer can be the difference between success and failure.

It is important that frontline is trained, developed and upskilled continuously. Management should ensure that employees are engaged and motivated to bring their passion and creativity to work on a daily basis, which in turn will motivate them to take good care of your customers. It would be ideal to find ways to measure employee engagement, as this allow you to identify employee development opportunities and alert you to any possible red flags. At Vodafone, we carry out a yearly survey, and employee engagement is one of the KPIs that we monitor. Whenever gaps are identified, we launch initiatives to address these.

The frontline is where all the action happens, and frontline employees need to be equipped with the correct tools and have a support structure in place to be able to deliver a top-notch customer experience consistently in a manner that reflects the company culture and values. A robust support structure will ensure speed of response and speed of resolution to any queries or issues a customer may have, which is a key moment of truth for all customer interactions. Frontline employees should try to make all encounters with customers memorable, leaving a lasting impression. If this is achieved, the customer is likely to return and also to recommend you to other potential new customers. Keep in mind that in the digital age, your company’s reputation and sales can easily be damaged by a disgruntled customer providing a bad review.

Your frontliners are also the perfect source to relay back customer insights; much more so than any survey could. Employees speak to many customers on a daily basis, and are in a perfect position to recognise patterns from their interactions with customers. They can identify whether similar issues are being raised by customers, and can quickly distinguish pain points. For this reason, it is important that frontliners, are empowered and supported to be able to provide feedback on a regular or ad hoc basis.

Frontline employees also need to be empowered to take ad hoc decisions to solve simple customer queries, therefore reducing complaints and escalations, and ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience. Consistent customer experience is a key differentiator that will help you stand out versus competition and could ultimately help your business grow.