Tips to train your staff on quality customer service
Providing great customer service requires the right employee training and evaluation.
Great service starts with your employees, and so it is important to train them as a quality customer service team to create a positive experience for your customers.
Here are tips on how to train your employees to become a customer-focused team and evaluate their progress:
Define quality customer service. If you want your staff to deliver great customer service, they first need to know what that looks like. It could be reducing customer wait times, communicating your product or service more efficiently, or greeting every customer with a smile. "Spell out a company purpose that is short enough to be memorable," says Micah Solomon, customer service consultant and speaker. "Then spend every chance you have, from onboarding onward, to reinforce this purpose."
Empower employees to provide quality customer service. It might be tempting to limit employees' time on phone calls to try to serve more customers. But great customer service is about quality, not quantity. It can be frustrating for customers when employees must constantly check with a manager for approval, so give your staff the time and resources to provide excellent service. Allow them more time to interact with customers or grant them the discretion to give customer discounts up to a predetermined amount.
Educate staff on quality customer service. Your employees should be experts on your products and services. Train them on pricing, specials, and promotions, and coach new employees on every aspect of your business. Online classes are an inexpensive, fast way to teach customer service fundamentals. Institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology offer free video lectures and readings online.
Evaluate performance. Once your team is trained, evaluate their performance against a baseline. Poll past and current customers frequently to track improvement and identify problems. An effective way to do this is to send short surveys asking customers to rate the service they received. Then you can use the responses as your starting point from which to improve. This is also an opportunity to follow up on negative responses and learn first-hand what your customers are experiencing.
"Don't wait until the end of the quarter to read all your surveys and respond," says Solomon.1 "Scan them the moment they come in, and get back to anyone with a concern."
From your baseline, create goals and an action plan. If your average customer rating was a seven out of 10, next month's goal could be an eight. Set specific, measurable steps for employees to reach these goals, such as answering every phone call within three rings, or greeting customers within a minute. Review individual employee performance regularly and provide constructive feedback to continue building your customer-focused team.
1 "10 Leadership Steps to Transform Your Customer Experience Culture (And Day to Day Customer Service)." Forbes.com. (2014) http://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2014/11/16/8-leadership-steps-that-can-transform-your-customer-experience-culture-and-your-day-to-day-customer-service/