Customer service will make or break your company. In fact, businesses lose approximately $41 billion a year due to poor customer service. Of course, the product or service provided also matters. The best combination is to have excellent customer service for an exceptional product; however, customer service is so important that even a superior product accompanied by poor customer service will often fail in the long run. The hard truth is that people will look for alternatives that are delivered in a professional and appealing manner. Research shows that in 2014:
- 44% of US customers switched from one business to another due to poor customer service
- In one year, 89% of consumers switched businesses due to negative customer service
- 34% of consumers posted their negative service experiences online for other consumers
All indicators show that no company can afford the negative effects of poor customer service. To ensure that your customers keep returning over the years, here are 10 customer service training tips that your employees need to learn:
1. Strong Customer Service Training Starts with the Adage: The Customer is Always Right
Granted, the customer is not right 100% of the time; however, it behooves your company to make sure that your customers are almost always right or that they walk away feeling that they are. People don't want to haggle and argue, nor do they want to feel as if they "lost" in their interaction with a company's customer service. They don't care to be berated, ignored or passed from one associate to another, especially for a product or service they're paying for. Get them into a negative encounter or a confrontation with one of your employees and you’ll see them swiftly head for a competitor's doors.
2. Do Everything with a Smile
It sounds simple enough to say that service must be given with a smile, yet how often does it really happen? One study found that 42% of consumers are put off by rude, unhelpful employees. Everyone has dealt with the employee who never smiles and seems to care less about what happens. This sort of attitude is impermissible in your staff and must be thoroughly addressed in your customer service training sessions.
3. Effective Customer Service Training Utilizes the Simple Concept of "Caring"
Make sure your customer service training includes the simple concept of “caring.” Nothing creates satisfied clients and produces long-term customers better than an organization full of employees who truly care about their customers and show it. Make sure your employees get in the habit of asking: “How are you doing?” or “How are your kids?” Tied into this "simple caring" is the skill of active listening. Train your employees to listen attentively to the customer's statements and responses to questions.
4. Employees Must Always Be Polite and Professional
This is a must, no matter what happens. Irate customers come and go. Overly demanding clients are sure to walk through the door. Make sure your team members stay calm, polite and professional at all times. Make sure they don't become condescending, dismissive and cold, even in the face of the most challenging customer. You want your employees to win the hearts of your customers so they come back and bring their friends with them. Cold customer service won't do it. Make sure their visit is pleasantly memorable so they want to come back. And if the customer is being belligerent, don't stoop to their level and give them even more to complain about.
5. Positive Attitudes Translate To Great Customer Service
Train your staff to be positive and energetic, even when they don’t feel like it. This is especially important on bad days. Just because they’re having a bad day doesn’t mean they should foist it off on your customers. Nothing will turn off a client faster than a negative interaction with an employee who is supposed to provide customer service.
6. Strong Customer Service Training Urges You to Get to Know Your Customers
Nothing adds that personal touch like an organization that remembers their customers. From upper-level management to the mail room, all workers should strive to remember those clients with whom they interact. This is an extra special touch that is sure to bear tremendous fruit. Knowing your customers also ties into simple caring and asking about your customers’ welfare. These small actions may not result in immediate breakthrough sales, but overtime they will be remembered by your customers and will add to the perceived level of care they're receiving.
7. Break Out of Your Silos
So often within a company, employees do not want to step into a coworker’s territory, an unfamiliar department or a different project. It's easy for workers to naturally cluster within their own departments and divisions and not interact and learn from others. How often are your employees told: “Stay in your lane?" This is not an efficient or productive manner in which to conduct business. More often than not, it can leave the customer waiting on someone to provide an answer or to help them.
8. Learn More to Become A Better Resource for Your Customers
Train your employees to be knowledgeable of everything concerning their own department. Further, urge them to learn of the departments that are connected to them. Train your workers to go the extra mile even when it forces them to step out of their usual department. This tip is tied into breaking out of silos. If an employee can’t furnish the answers a customer needs from their own department, they should feel encouraged and at liberty to seek the answers elsewhere in order to best assist the customer. Ensure your work environment allows your employees this freedom.
9. Have a Rapid-Response Policy
Rapid responses and prompt feedback must be included in your customer service training. If you have a help desk, make sure that customers aren't put on hold for extended periods of time. Set a policy that all responses to routine business inquiries must be within 24 or 48 hours. Nothing is more irritating to a client than not getting a return phone call or not having an email answered for days, if at all. Make sure your company does not suffer from this sort of negligence. It appears as laziness, ineptness and unprofessionalism. Require your employees to stick to a rapid-response policy.
As for the training itself...
10. The Trainer Must Have Genuinely Exemplary Customer Service Skills
Have you ever attended customer service training, only to discover that the trainer is ill-equipped to be teaching anyone anything about customer service, except how not to do things? Take the time to find a trainer who truly walks in excellence in this area. If you're doing the training, be sure that you're well-prepared to instruct others. If not, the training is simply an empty gesture that your employees won't take seriously and won't be able to utilize.
Use These Customer Service Training Tips to Optimize Customer Experience and Retention
There is no doubt that strong, effective customer service training programs are necessary for every business in every industry. Losing good customers is a real effect of poor service, and retaining and drawing more customers is an outcome of superior service. Ensure that your employees have strong customer service skills and watch your business succeed and grow in the future.
You may also be interested in these employee development posts:
- 5 Ways To Eliminate Toxic Work Conditions (See The Symptoms)
- Retaining Millennial Employees Through Leadership Development
- The Low Cost Of Employee Development vs. The High Cost Of Employee Turnover
To learn more about the benefits of employee development, contact Edge Training at 800-305-2025.
10 Customer Service Training Tips Your Employees Need To Learn