Leaders, Extend Value of Customer Service Training
by Kate Nasser | 5 Comments »
Twenty years of planning and delivering customer service training have produced this advice for leaders. You can do much to ensure and extend the value of any expert customer service training.
Make the training stick and create a new movement for the ultimate customer service experience with these steps.
Extend Value of Customer Service Training. Image by:KimbManson Graphics
STEP #1. Before selecting any training, write down what you want your customers to experience. Use customer feedback and your business goals in this process. Communicate with all leaders and staff — not just the customer service front line. Look for and resolve the discrepancies in the definition. If you are not of one mind, training participants will interpret and use the skills purely from their own definition.
STEP #2. Prepare your staff on how to learn from an expert. Customer service staff often develop an emotional attachment to the way they have handled customers — especially the challenging situations. They hold onto their methods as a life vest or buoy yet these methods are more protective of them than helpful to the customers. A simple statement from you at the beginning of the training — encouraging them to open up to the expert’s experience — is very effective!
STEP #3. Be the initial champion of the movement to improve customer service. Communicate what you expect of all staff in making the ultimate customer service experience come to life. Why should staff change behavior if you aren’t exhibiting this commitment and importance of the change?
STEP #4. After-session visual reminders of the skills are standard and effective. Visual reminders of customer service spirit and the ultimate customer experience turn the inspiration generated during training into a customer service movement. Shirts, buttons, signs, daily start huddles, peer coaching, frequent use of customer feedback, weekly lessons learned, and celebrating commitment, make the skills come to life every day.
If staff strongly resist this last step, you may be facing either a deeper morale issue or a reflection of your leadership style. Perhaps you have created a democracy rather than empowered teams all working toward the organization’s vision and goals.
To extend the value of training, develop a culture of visible spirit and learning. It inspires, engages, and encourages teams to deliver the ultimate customer service experience.
What other steps have you taken to create a highly effective customer service culture?
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, is widely respected for her insight, expertise, and skill in inspiring and delivering advice and training for the ultimate customer service experience. See this site for what others have said about the training and for workshop outlines.
Great points, Kate, especially point #2 – in my experience, this is the most critical aspect of any kind of change. You express it so well: “Customer service staff often develop an emotional attachment to the way they have handled customers”. Process IS a life vest, throughout the organization, and most especially for customer service staff. Preparing people to learn, and ensuring that they feel safe enough to practice what they learn after the training is over, is key. Thanks for articulating this beautifully!
Nice extension Pattie — they have to feel both safe and inspired to try new approaches. Many thanks for your contribution.
Great set of steps Kate! These are perfectly matched to Customer Service related training but I think they could also apply to other types of training because they are related to Change. I find that when I get into an organization to do social media marketing training – similar considerations would apply.
This is very true Linda. It applies to many types of behavioral change training. Use of the skills is very dependent on internal conditions, leadership, and change drivers. Thanks for contributing and expanding this discussion.