Your business is losing customers, your sales team’s pipelines are small and dwindling, new accounts aren’t coming in, and current customers have stopped giving out referrals. What is going on? Internal customer service, or how your employees are treating each other, may be the culprit. Forget the customer, for right now. It may be a great time to focus in on your organization’s work environment.
Identifying the Toxic Source
There are two different types of customer service, internal and external. While the two may seem to not overlap, they generally go hand in hand. If there are stressors between employees, it can translate to decreased external customer service satisfaction. How can a company provide excellent customer service if there is a hostile or toxic work environment? “Toxic” often refers to a chemical reaction or a by-product that is known to be dangerous, or even lethal. Just like a virus, a toxic employee can spread their negativity and counterproductive actions to other employees across different department and negatively impact the workplace. By keeping toxic employees around, they will continue to pollute the work environment and bring down employee morale.
Employee reviews by department managers are a helpful way to flush out toxic employees. Periodically checking in on employees will allow employees to give valuable feedback, and for managers to use that feedback to help promote a successful department. Check in on your employees and watch out for signs of a toxic employee or environment.
Indicators of a Toxic Employee
• Low productivity
• Poor morale – lack of confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline
• Increased frequency and intensity of employee arguments
• Negative attitudes and comments
• Unwillingness to “go the extra mile”
• Unexcused absences from work
• Continuing patterns of one or all of the above
Keep in mind, opposing views and differences of opinions are not necessarily the issue. In fact, they can often foster a creative work environment.
Revamping Toxic Employee
Toxic employees take negativity to a whole new level…and it’s contagious! So, it’s important to find out why that employee is behaving so badly. They may be that they don’t understand their job or they may require extra attention or perhaps it’s a personal problem, which is a whole separate issue.
Here are some ways to revamp your toxic employees, restore their positive attitude, and strengthen their relationship with the company:
• Offer extra training or a mentoring program
• Work together to create an improvement plan
• Provide clear expectations of them and the company
• Move to another department that better suits their strengths
• Reward efforts with various levels of rewards (thank you notes, lunch, cash bonus, extra vacation time, etc.)
There is No “I” in Team
If there’s no teamwork, the system collapses. If there’s disconnect between departments, there’s no productivity. However, with teamwork the possibilities of greatness in the workplace are endless! When you have the team working together, you have increased efficiency because everyone is working towards a common goal and/or objective. As a result…better customer service.
Want a confident team? Brainstorming within a team can create confidence coworkers need to produce creative ideas. Different perspectives and expertise can open the lines of communication. This, in turn, reinforces the companies’ core values and takes customer service to the next level.
Team conflicts often arise when people feel that their ideas are not being heard or incorporated into the problems solving. Brainstorming, open communication, and reiterating the common goal can help resolve most conflicts. It’s important for everyone to remember that it’s not personal – there are problems to solve and customers to service. By using teamwork in the workplace, you create an effective team that trusts each other and works together to create optimal solutions for customer service.
The Final Step
Evaluate your staff, identify any toxic employees, and address the issues head-on. If the toxic environment dissipates, tackle teamwork and boosting employee morale…then add the customers back into the equation. The equation is simple: happy employees = happy customers. The hard part is figuring out what makes your employees happy. When employees like their jobs, feel appreciated, and know what is expected of them, they will always go the extra mile. That extra mile goes a long way with customers; it’s a win-win for everyone!
Ultimately, you will see a decrease in customers lost, bigger sales pipelines, more new business, and positive customer referrals. Just remember, focus on the inside first then work your way outwards to provide excellent customer service and an amazing work environment for your employees.
Have any extra tips on how you’ve dealt with toxic employees in the workplace? Feel free to contact me at: email@example.com or check out our website: www.theremigroup.com
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