One of the greatest challenge to developing great customer service often times is getting started.
We read about great customer service, we attend seminars, workshops, and conferences. We’re inspired, we believe, we’re committed.
But at the end of the day, we’re often left wondering: How do we do it?
Great customer service and developing exceptional customer experience is a journey for customer service managers, customer service teams, and service focused organizations. It won’t change overnight, but with the right map in place, you can get started on the right track. Damien Clarke , Managing Director of Newarke Corporate Training, shares the basic steps to our service map.
To provide exceptional customer service, employees need to be trained; there is no way around it. In order to provide the most benefit to employees, a customer service training program needs to be provided by individuals who are committed, knowledgable, and passionate about customer service and customer experience. Here are the 5 basic steps that training customer service should include.
1. Customized Customer Service Training Program
If the training program is not designed with the specific needs of a business in mind it will not be as successful as it could potentially be. What one company does for customers may not be right for another. But both organizations can still provide great customer service.
- Zappos isn’t known for their upscale service experience.
- The Ritz Carlton isn’t known for their quirky, fun-loving employees.
2. Make Customer Service Training Fun, Engaging.
When employees are counting the minutes until a training program is over, there is no way they will actually apply the principles that they are learning. The training program must be engaging.
- Ditch the powerpoint, or use it sparingly (don’t just read off of it).
- Include an activity where employees take principles and have to apply it.
- Include a memorable, visual element to the training (video, prop, picture).
- Provide follow-up documentation for review.
3. Reward Great Customer Service, Not Just Metrics.
Getting team members involved and committed to continued great customer service requires you to develop a reward system for implementing service strategies. Especially in the beginning employees need to be rewarded for applying the strategies they learn for providing good service.
- Provide small rewards for great service experience (gift cards, movie tickets, treats).
- Include service aspect in regular employee reviews.
- Ensure that metrics don’t undercut your customer service ideals.
4. Always Preach Customer Service as Motivation
Any effective customer service organization must incorporate a bit of the inspirational speaking into their service focus. Employees must be self-motivated about implementing what they are learning and an effective customer service training can inspire those kinds of feelings.
- Provide quick, motivation emails, chats on a weekly or bi-monthly basis.
- Plan bigger, organization-wide motivation activities quarterly or semi-annually.
- Ensure that ALL company-wide communication has a customer service tone.
5. Follow-up and Ongoing Customer Service Training
Probably the most important factor in training great customer service is providing consistant, ongoing customer service training. Customer service training can’t be a one-time thing. It can’t be a semi-annual or even a quarterly thing. Great customer service will require follow-up with employees and management to ensure that the service principles are being implemented.
Improving the level of customer service training provided within an organization can do wonders for improving customer satisfaction and will be key in creating exceptional customer experiences. A successful customer service training program can and should change the whole mindset toward customer service within an organization for the long-term.