Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Every business today needs to stand by their customer service and the actions of their frontline staff. Getting this right however is about more than polite telephone manner, but is about creating a company-wide culture that emphasises the importance of building trusting and loyal relationships with customers.
Delivering outstanding customer service means creating memorable and extraordinary experiences for customers. It goes beyond having a friendly telephone call – customer service should be woven into your entire business and emphasized with every employee. There are two fundamental factors in achieving this, first is selecting the right employees and second is training them so that they possess the skills and expertise to leave customers happy after every interaction.
Training that encompasses skills provision, role play and post programme support can be highly beneficial to employees, enabling them to transfer what they have learnt in a meaningful and effective way. Training programmes such an NVQ qualification for employees are a huge benefit for employees and the company. The NVQ confirms a person’s competence in a certain field and therefore demonstrates confidence and self-assurance in performing crucial work, increasing their value as an employee and improving their career opportunities. Find out more about NVQs here.
But if you are going to achieve a first class customer service culture, what can you do in terms of training and development?
1. Recruit the right candidates – Recruitment is about finding people with the attributes that cannot be taught; motivation, attitude and personality. The right people make training much easier.
2. Educate new starters quickly – Every new employee should understand the service objectives and culture from the outset, helping them to appreciate and work towards the wider company goals.
3. Create internal training procedures – Your existing employees are a valuable training asset and can share their experiences and skills with the entire workforce. Subsequently, regular internal workshops and the structure in place for employees to put into practice what they have learnt should be encouraged.
4. Do not script – With wholesale recruitment (sometimes present in contact centres) it can be tempting to give new employees a script to handle customer interactions. This does little to enhance customer service and rarely motivates staff. Training instead gives them the freedom to be human and create positive interactions, whilst following guiding principles. (Read more about scripting - Frontline Service Employees Building Rapport – To script or not to script?).
5. Effective monitoring – Just because your employees have completed induction training does not mean their development journey has ended. You should be taking the time to interview them, monitoring their progress with the initial training and finding out what their next steps might be.
6. Giving Best Practices – By ensuring your employees understand the best practices of their job role you are setting the standard. This is particularly important in a data input situation where data entered incorrectly can be disastrous to effective usage and insight.
7. Don’t forget the management – Your customer service culture must permeate every facet of your business. The management may be busy but if they choose not to undertake the training, they are limiting their effectiveness in a management role and are also setting a poor example to rest of the workforce.
8. Train staff as they are promoted – When contact personnel are promoted to team leaders and then managers it is important to understand that each job role requires a different skill set. As a result it should be procedure that anyone who is promoted is trained effectively for their new role.
Development and training, taken seriously, is evidence that you care for your employees and their future. People care to the extent that they are cared for and have a yearning to grow, to develop, to understand and be all that they can be. If you develop your carefully selected candidates properly, their desire for career development becomes evident. Do this at every stage of their professional career and you are one step closer to creating a customer service culture that is understood at every level at the business and by every employee – leading to outstanding customer experiences.
Written by CD at 07:50