Training your employees in customer communication
Find out how you can train employees to handle complaints and make customers feel valued. Melinda Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady, is one of America's leading small business experts and is a paid contributor for Wells Fargo.
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Hi. I'm Ed Lawler for the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. Today we'll be talking about the importance of training your employees to communicate properly with customers. Joining me is Melinda Emerson, the SmallBizlady and author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months.
I’m excited to be here, Ed. It’s so important to train your employees, and to treat them like they're your number one customer. If you don't care about your employees, they won't care about your business.
That's a great point, Melinda. Can you tell us more about why it's important to talk to your employees about communicating with customers?
If you're providing good service to customers, you're making them feel special and important to your business. Word-of-Mouth marketing does not just happen, you have to create it. There are several strategies your employees can use to exceed customer expectations.
Number one, they should answer phones in a warm and greeting manner. They should have guidelines for anything from email to e-commerce interactions, particularly if your business is online. And they should remember that timeliness is key, so it's critical to get back to customers quickly. Especially online customers.
Those are great tips. What are some other ways small business owners should prepare employees to interact with customers?
Employees must be trained to always listen to customers, and to seek to be helpful. Empower your employees to know what issues they can handle themselves. It's frustrating for a customer to hear that an employee has to go ask a manager.
Let your employees know, for example, that they can fix a problem up to $100 without a manager. Also, make sure they maintain a supportive attitude toward customers, and immediately address any concerns.
Customers will present a wide range of individual concerns. How can you train employees to provide good service, based on any complaints they may hear?
The most important thing to do when fielding customer complaints is to hear them out. Most upset clients really just want to be heard. Train employees to remain receptive and to not cut them off or criticize them. They should also avoid getting angry, or having a knee-jerk reaction to a disgruntled customer.
You also want to make sure you have policies established as guidelines beforehand, so the employees know what to do when dealing with disgruntled customers. Keeping a paper trail is a great way to be sure that you can prove what the customer wanted from the beginning.
With the ability to automate phone directories or sell products online, isn't it possible to limit the amount of time employees will have to deal with customer concerns?
On the contrary. Sometimes it's important to speak to a real human. So you want to automate customer service to relieve your employees' workload and improve the experience for customers, but you don't want to force the customer to have to go through a series of touch-tone directories. Your customer's time is precious, and it needs to be respected.
Those all sound like important things to keep in mind for any type of communication with customers. Thanks so much, Melinda, for sharing your insights today.
Always a pleasure, Ed.
And thank you for joining us for this segment of the Business Insight Series. To learn more about how Wells Fargo Business Banking can help you, visit wellsfargo.com/biz. In the meantime, we wish you continued success.