We’ve talked about the importance of training, more specifically customer service training. Mahatma Ghandi makes it clear that “a customer is the most important visitor on our premises; he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is a part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” This clearly indicates that customers have choices and the way we treat them influences their decision on whether or not they continue to conduct business with us. It is imperative that employees are provided with the necessary training to help them deliver superior customer service. There is no question about it – customer service training is as important to a business’ success as hiring the right fit for the job. While general customer service training can help your business, custom tailored customer service training would be more beneficial to your company.
A Customer Service Training Session that is tailored to your business incorporates your company’s mission, vision & core values which reinforce to employees the reason your business exists, what your objectives are & how they can help the business to succeed. In this type of training, your established customer service standards are the focal points. By incorporating your business objectives and customer service standards into the training, you are tying the basic aspects of customer service deliverables and courtesies to your company’s established customer service standards. This helps your employees to have a better understanding of what your company is trying to achieve and also helps them understand how to deliver your service standards in a professional manner that makes the customer feel valued, respected and appreciated.
Having said all of that, does your company have established customer service standards? Have you clearly articulated those standards to your staff in language they can understand? Have you discussed your customer service standards with your team of employees? Have you asked your employees for their feedback? Have you listened to their suggestions on what your customer service standards should include? Are you measuring the type of service your customers are receiving?
Spending money on Customer Service Training is an excellent way to invest in your company and in your employees. It is a good value; however, a better value for your money would be to invest in a “Customized Customer Service Training” and then take it a step further by ensuring that your employees deliver on your promise of superior customer service by testing their service delivery. You’ve invested hard earned money in providing employees with training – don’t you want to ensure the learning is applied?
Testing the service delivery of your employees can be done in many ways. Today, I’d like to recommend 2 ways that I believe are the most effective.
- Management Service Observations – This is where your supervisors or managers use your established customer service standards and observe staff interactions with customers. These observations should be done on a consistent basis. The frequency you establish for the service observations should take into consideration the volume of staff members you employ and the amount of customers that patronize your business. When conducting service observations, my recommendation is to observe on occasions when employees are aware the observations are being conducted and at other times when they are unaware.
- Mystery Shopping – Mystery Shopping allows an independent person to test your established customer service standards. They are provided with your established customer service standards and compare the service they receive from your employees to those standards. Employees are unaware they are being observed. Mystery Shopping provides valuable feedback on how well employees delivered on your promise of superior service. In addition, they also clearly outline the opportunities for improvement. Share the information from the Mystery Shopping experience with your team. An added bonus is that both of these methods can be built into your recognition program. Highlight and reward those employees who consistently deliver on your service standards and privately provide coaching to those who need help with delivering the standards.
I close today’s blog with a thought from Sam Walton, “the goal of a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.” Invest in your team and build a customer service reputation that far surpasses your competitors.
Tip of the Week: Establish Customer Service Standards and then measure how well they are being delivered. Remember – what gets measured gets done.