Building trust as a team to help customers
In customer service and sales teams, it’s important to trust each other, otherwise it’s easy for customer needs to be lost in translation.
What’s more when it comes to sales teams there will be times when one team member hands over the baton to another, for example to help a customer with a quotation. This means there needs to be trust that any new sale is a joint win with departmental goals as well as individual goals and cross-functional plans.
Effective Leadership within a sales team
This means leadership is important too. Leaders need to make sure that bonuses or targets align in a way were no one misses out from working together.
When you lead a sales or service team you’re protecting the image of a brand. And that trust in the brand is built on the consistency of that brand too. For example if the brand is ‘chatty’ on social media but customer service is based on formality it can create a discord in how the customer views you.
What’s more if sales teams do not trust their leader they are far less likely to implement new sales techniques effectively or speak up if they need help, particularly in a tense environment where targets are high.
Helping sales teams increase their performance
When sales teams feel isolated or unable to raise concerns with their leaders this can create a culture of failure. So creating a safe environment for staff where they can admit and learn from their mistakes is key. We grow more as people when we work in a nurturing environment and feedback doesn’t come from a place of judgement.
When you measure your team look at behaviours and outcomes to look at opportunities to help them improve, but don’t make it personal. And make sure you show appreciation when your team put in the work or make strides in their own development.
Help your team discover the power of self-coaching and continued development where their main competition is themselves. Mentorship can also be used to help people to see things from a customers point of view as sales people share their ideas and experiences.
Building trust in a multi-generational workforce
We tend to gravitate towards the generation we know best. Our own. Naturally our understanding is higher for ‘people like us;’ this makes soft skills such as empathy easier within our own generation because we don’t have to work hard to understand others who have lived similar experiences to us.
But this poses problems in the world of work and when relating to customers of differing generations to our own. There are now 5 separate generations in the workplace including the silent generation and boomers who may look at things through more traditional eyes. Then you’ve got Gen X, Millennials and then Gen Z who tend to be more driven by a healthy work life balance and expect their employers to support their wellbeing.
When it comes to multi-generational customers and working well together as a sales or service team you need to be aware of a few things:
Unconscious bias - Be aware of your own tendencies to make assumptions about people based on their age and generation. Note that not everyone is the same. What’s more be careful of assuming things about their buying patterns or preferred method of communication. Note you may experience unconscious bias from your customers and you’ll need coping mechanisms and resilience to deal with this.
Understand – Take the time to understand more about each generation using reputable research sources but always remember to look at each person individually not as a cohort. If one generation is known for one behaviour it doesn’t mean your customer will act that way.
Hiring for values that align to business goals
Growing your team presents a catch 22.
How do you hire people with the right soft and technical skills to help you reach your business vision, balanced with promoting innovative culture by hiring people with new ideas?
Ideas, visions and values can be compatible or mutually exclusive.
Values are very important during the hiring process. If you value honesty and hard work then it’s important that someone joining the team believes in the same things. It’s critical for corporate culture to have similar values that bring you together and don’t pull you apart.
However, it’s also critical to business to have working environments that produce and execute new ideas, otherwise they will fall behind in competitiveness.
So instead recognise that you can add cognitive diversity to the team by hiring people who think differently to each other and have challenging and constructive ideas, whilst still sharing the collective values, environment, and capabilities of your team.
During the interview process ask questions around what’s important to your potential hire through hypothetical scenarios to demonstrate their values or asking about their prior experiences.
Also remember to share bad news in a way that doesn’t burn bridges. Don’t ghost candidates, you never know who they know, someone can be disappointed not to get a role but still go on to be an advocate of the brand; they won’t do that if you ghost them and may damage your brand through word of mouth by sharing their poor experience with others.
The future of trust in an AI world
Face-to-face interactions are likely to become more important as AI starts changing the world of work.
We’ve already seen the effect of fake reviews causing people to be more sceptical of online testimonials.
As things progress with AI it’s likely that sales and service teams will benefit from the many tools AI provides, but they will also come up against challenges as customers become more vigilant against AI text for example. There are also likely to be more data related reasons for customers to worry about handing over information when AI is automating processes.
This will also make word of mouth recommendations more important too.
Workplaces that merge the best of both worlds, balancing the benefits of AI and people, are likely to see the best results in terms of business revenue, productivity, efficiency and customer service.
The important thing is consumers feel that businesses value them. According to a Qualtrics XM Institute 2021 study more than 60% of consumers want businesses to care for them and are more likely to buy from them.
How D4S can help you build trust within your teams
Without trust innovation suffers, when people don’t feel safe they spend more time protecting themselves and don’t perform to the best of their ability or share their knowledge.
We can help you build trust within your teams, both at department level and in a more cross-functional capacity.
If you’d like to explore team development in a tailored way speak to us about our unique approach.
And explore our Building trust and strengthening relationships insight session.