Kingsport Times-News: Are you a coach-type manager?

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Are you a coach-type manager?

Shelburne Ferguson Jr. • Mar 25, 2019 at 12:00 AM

If you had a coach when you were young, you likely understand today why a coach-type manager is far more helpful than a manager who hands out orders, rarely checks on how you are doing or encourages you to learn with the manager’s help how to solve any issue or problem on your own.

Another advantage of having a coach-type rather than a manager-type superior is that you don’t have to wait six months to a year to have a manager evaluate you and suggest improvements you need to make. Coach-type bosses see you in your “work clothes” and are available at your work station.

I have a long-term friend who was a high school football and basketball coach and progressed as a college coach successfully in the Southeastern Conference as a basketball coach. He shared with me how he handled particularly the basketball practices when he observed a player make a mistake or mess up a play in practice. Coach would blow his whistle, stop the play, but not scream at the offending player, but he would ask the player what specifically he did wrong. If the player properly identified the error and stated what he should have done, coach left him in the practice, but removed the player from practice if he could not discuss the player’s blunder. The point of a coaches’ approach in a business is to make certain the employee learns what was missing in the proper way to get the job assignment done correctly.

Let me pass on to you what I found in my research about how to achieve good customer service. My source is found in the following web article: The title of the article is: “8 ways to coach employees to better customer service.” A significant truth in business is, no matter how long you have been in business, there are always opportunities for improvement. Coaches of any and all types realize it is vital to provide consistent superior customer service as is possible.

From my experience, extraordinary customer service is handled by those employees who are true problem solvers. For a business to maintain superb customer service, the employee coach must constantly assess the level of customer service. Competitor companies must be periodically checked to see if the rival business is becoming a greater rival. The business must also interview and test those whom it hires to make certain the candidates demonstrate an appreciation for superior customer service on a long-term basis.

I am sure you have experienced poor customer service on occasion. Often, the lackluster customer service occurs because the sales employees do not listen carefully to make certain the problem being conveyed to the staff person is fully understood and conveyed to another staff person who can resolve the issue. Train your employees to not rush customers who are sharing a troublesome complaint (whether the employee doesn’t see the issue as “not that big a deal” or not). Teach employees to treat the customer’s complaint as a truly bothersome to the customer. Keep in mind if a customer is not treated well and properly by your business, that upset customer will generally share the problem with family, friends, associates and acquaintances. The problem may come back to haunt you.

If you have hired a younger group of employees, assume these younger folks may not be as knowledgeable as your older employees you may have hired years ago. This should be another indication you should devote a larger measure of time with the younger and newer workers to provide them with more training and understanding. Also don’t be reluctant to purchase books and to cut out articles that offer relevant data and approaches that would encourage your staff to learn precisely what they need to know to become outstanding employees.

I would further recommend the managers of all types and coaches as well communicate fully, frequently and in depth with your employees about their customer relationships. Moreover, maintain cordial relationships with each other.

I would also recommend you as managers as well as your employees do your best to maintain the culture of your business. Work at determining what values and principles you want your company to maintain for the future.

Mr. Ferguson is a Kingsport attorney. You can reach him at: 423/246-3132.

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