06Jun

Never before have customer service professionals been more critical to the success of a business.

When COVID-19 shut down stores and offices across the nation, customers and clients turned to the internet and phone to order goods and get help. Customer service representatives became, not just the first point of contact, but often the literal and only voice of an organization.

Even before the pandemic, the job of a customer service representative (CSR) was stressful and could be grueling. Those working the frontlines in stores and businesses handled all manner of in-person customer contacts, from taking returns to helping the customer find what they want.

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Those in customer contact centers may never meet a customer or client, but that lack of face-to-face contact makes the job no less challenging. The person may be calling for basic information or to process an order or ask about one. The ones that test a CSRs diplomacy and tact the most are the ones from angry callers.

They try their best to satisfy every customer, even those with unreasonable demands. But when they can’t, how they’ve treated the caller makes all the difference. A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related than about price or product, says the global business consultant, Bain & Co.

In recognition of the job of customer service professional, Congress designated this first full week in October as National Customer Service Week. It’s also a reminder for organizations and government, says the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, that “customer service is a critical component in running a business.”

And for that important role they play for us at Green Key Resources and organization everywhere, we salute customer representative professionals and say thank you for helping all of us in these challenging times.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

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You May Be Surprised How Long You Need to Keep Records

When the paper files build up and the cabinets start bulging, it’s time to do some purging. It’s a task that in small offices often gets delegated to whoever looks the least busy.

Is that a good idea? Maybe not. In those files may be the personnel records of long gone employees, making them likely candidates for disposal. Then a week later or a month later or a year from now the government comes to do an audit or you hear from the former employee or, uh oh, from their lawyer and the records are gone.

Office managers and office assistants may know that hiring documents should be kept for for at least a year after the job is filled and that onboarding records like the I-9 need to be retained longer, for three years after hiring or a year after the employee leaves, whichever is longer.

But what about drug test results? Or time cards and payroll records? A year for drug tests unless you’re in the transportation business, and no less than three years for payroll. But even that may not be long enough in some instances should the specter of misclassification of an employee arise. This is especially critical now that the overtime rules have changed.

Those rules may be easy to follow. Where the save or toss decision gets trickier is with employee medical records, FMLA leave, ADA accommodations, ERISA and benefits records. Some sources say saving employee medical records for three years is sufficient. That’s generally correct, however if the employee sustained an on the job injury, OSHA requires the record to be kept for five years. That’s five years after the end of the calendar year in which the injury occurred and NOT five years from the injury. That rule may not apply to you if there are fewer than 11 employees, but it might.

Is your head spinning? Do you still think it wise to delegate the file clean-up to just anyone?

Let Green Key Resources help. Call us to discuss bringing in an HR or office compliance professional who knows the retention and recordkeeping rules. No matter where in the country you are, one call to 212.683.1988 and help will soon be on the way.

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