Five strategies for fostering an inclusive culture in customer service

Five strategies for fostering an inclusive culture in customer service

Providing inclusive communication training to customer-facing workers is a critical component of any forward-thinking customer service strategy.

Effective and inclusive communication is a straightforward but critical method of enhancing the customer experience and reinforcing the message that all customers are treated equally and will receive the same level of service.

However, when it comes to training and development, it’s critical to remember that inclusive communication does not come in a ‘one size fits all’ package. Everyone is unique, which implies that you must understand each customer’s unique demands and adjust your engagement and communication with them accordingly.

Information and knowledge
According to what I’ve observed, it is unlikely that managers are unduly cautious due to political correctness; rather, it is more probable due to the pressures of modern living. Because there is less room for error, people have become instinctively cautious in the knowledge that they can be held publically accountable immediately if they make a mistake.

The key here is to maintain an open line of communication with managers, to provide them with regularly updated, bite-sized information, and to encourage them to proactively check out readily available sources of information from the numerous specialist organisations and charities that deal with disabilities and special interest groups.

Armed with the necessary information, students will gain increased confidence in engaging and communicating in an inclusive manner. For instance, the RNIB is an excellent resource for information on how to assist people who have lost their sight, and Stonewall provides excellent information on how to support members of the LGBTQ community in readily digestible pieces.

Inclusiveness training contributes to the development of general awareness, which in turn increases confidence. There is significant value in being conscious and confident enough to approach and engage with people without thinking, “I don’t know what to say, I’m not sure what phrases to use.”

Additionally, there are tools, methods, and processes that can assist in increasing employee confidence when it comes to inclusive communication. For instance, when a customer checks into a hotel, the receptionist can follow a routine in which they are greeted using a neutral form of address. After accessing the paper work and ascertaining how the consumer wishes to be addressed, the appropriate form can be employed. Without the facts in front of them, there is no pressure on the receptionist or customer support professional to get it right.
Culture is critical.
A supportive culture is critical for inclusive communication, and numerous organisations have already made significant progress in this area.

Adaptability and adaptability
We understand how critical it is to be adaptable and flexible in response to changing situations. Equally, it takes extra work to be adaptable and flexible when confronted with something unusual. In inclusive customer service communication, it is critical to recognise that there is no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy. There was a school of thought that said ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’, but because everyone is unique, it’s more inclusive to say ‘treat others the way they want to be treated’.

Additionally, agility entails thinking creatively and not taking anything for granted. For example, while some disabilities are evident and visible, this is not always the case. The critical issue to address with a wheelchair-bound consumer may be completely unrelated to the fact that they are wheelchair-bound. By adopting an inclusive perspective, one can avoid adopting rigid opinions and judgmental attitudes. Thus, inclusivity entails a shift in thinking as well.

Empathy and nonverbal communication
A significant obstacle for those participating in direct customer service during COVID has been communicating effectively and genuinely while wearing a mask, as all those critical visual emotions are hidden. Learning to communicate effectively behind a mask has resulted in an increased use of body language, which can also be utilised effectively for inclusive communication.

A heightened awareness and ability to tune into others can help to improve inclusive communication by making it easier to connect emotionally with them and to listen to them more fully. This may be taken a step further, according to mindfulness coach and author Liz Hall, by fostering what is known as’mindful compassion,’ which not only increases productivity and performance, but also emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and self-management.

Investing in inclusive communication training for customer-facing workers is a critical component of any forward-thinking customer service strategy. This is not only to ensure that all clients are treated equally and receive the same high quality of service, although that is critical, but also to assist workers in developing increased levels of sensitivity and awareness, which has a slew of other benefits. Most importantly, it boosts their confidence and empowers them.

That benefits customers, businesses, and individuals in their daily lives, both inside and beyond the workplace.

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