Effective Customer Service Training
Who are the most important people in your organization? It may come as a surprise that the most important people are your employees – not your customers. Customers come second. Without qualified and well-trained employees committed to strong customer service, all your efforts to satisfy customers will be unsuccessful. Customer service training has become a popular method for service companies to provide employees with the information they need to meet customer needs.
However, it should not be considered as a one-time or annual event. Customer service training is an ongoing process that must be incorporated into the company culture and business practices. Good after-sales service training is based on the needs of your organization and the skill level of your employees. Here are some key elements to help ensure your customer service training efforts deliver results.
1) Start with the goal. What do you want to achieve with your customer service training? Your answer is unique to your business, the product you provide or the service you provide, and the type of customer you serve. For example, if you do dry cleaning, you can expect customers to be greeted promptly, clothes to be cleaned to their specifications, and that problems or issues resolved in accordance with prescribed policies / practices be clearly communicated to customers.
When you run a consulting firm, your customer expectations can involve lengthy interactions with clients to pinpoint their needs, identify control points throughout the counseling process, and so on. Regardless of the specifics, you need to have a clear idea of the end results you are looking for. With these results, you can focus on your customer service training.
2) define success. The employees have to have clear expectations. They want to succeed, but they need to know how success “looks” and how they judge their efforts. Determine how well you can measure the success of customer service based on the goals you set. Make these measures available to the employees as the goals that they are tasked to achieve.
3) Communicate your expectations – be specific. Do not assume that employees know what you expect from the service. Be specific and make sure you “catch them early”. The orientation of a new employee is the time to inform him about your service expectations.
4) Provide the tools employees need to serve your customers. Employees need tools and need to know how to use these tools to serve customers effectively. For example, having employees who do not have access to emails can interfere with effective communication with their customers. If a graphic designer does not have the latest software and hardware, he may not be able to provide customers with high quality or timely processing. A mobile phone can be an important tool for a salesperson who often does not sit at his desk.
5) Inform employees about their limits. Your employees need to know your policies and procedures to satisfy customers and respond to complaints. The more flexibility you can provide and the clearer you communicate these policies, the better your employees can meet customer needs. Customers also benefit when employees are able to solve “on-the-spot” situations rather than having to talk to “my supervisor”.
6) Gather common situations and scenarios to use as examples. Your customer service training should be “real”. Practical examples of how your employees can help highlight bad / good / better / best practices for working with clients and customers. Involvement of employees in the training. Ask your service-performing employees to train and coach others.
7) Role play is a common challenging situation in order to give employees the opportunity to “practice” their answers. When a “real situation” occurs, they have a higher level of comfort in their ability to respond effectively.
8) Encourage employees to talk to their “worst nightmare” customers. Customers with the highest expectations, the highest complaints or the highest complaints can be a comprehensive source of information for your efforts to improve customer service. After all, if you can please this “hard customer,” you should be able to consistently impress your average customer. Behind the complaints and requirements are often very valid points and problems that you can use to improve the service. Resist the urge to “ignore” hard customers; Think of it as your best source of good information for improving service.
9) Share failures – celebrate successes. Do not focus only on success. Do not just point out mistakes. To build a strong service culture, you need a balance of failures and success stories. Employees can learn from both their own mistakes and the mistakes of others. Do not treat every mistake as an opportunity to “punish” employees, but as an opportunity to learn something. Why did the error occur? What could be done differently next time to avoid such a mistake? What lessons could other employees learn to avoid these problems? Also take time to celebrate your achievements and share these success stories with all employees. Sometimes the best “customer service training” for employees can be a good debriefing of a positive or negative customer situation. These debriefing sessions can also be great roleplaying opportunities.
10) The most effective training? The example you set. Your employees not only observe how you interact with customers, but also what you say about your customers. If your attitude towards customers is pejorative, it sends a very strong, negative message to the employees. Make sure you are a strong role model – in word and deed.