Every employee of your small business should receive some customer service training. Customer service isn’t just about when things go wrong. It’s about how to make a proper phone call. It’s about how to treat the customer right from the moment they walk in the door. It’s about giving the quiet client the same amount of care as the client who makes a scene in the office.
While everyone you hire might have an idea of how to serve customers, it’s important that there is some continuity to the experience. Most consumers have experienced what happens when there are very disparate customer service experiences at the same company: It’s why you always avoid that one checker at the grocery store. How do you prevent this from happening at your business? Training. Training. Training. Training does not always need to be formal, but you must discuss customer service with all of your employees.
Without micromanaging, you need to create some control over each step of the customer experience. You might not have a script, but you at least need talking points (although a script may be right for your business). It’s not enough to train in the basics. What is most important is getting all of your team members on board with your common goal. It’s the principles, not the rote stuff, that is the most important. How do you integrate those principles throughout your business?
1. Create a company culture that focuses on customer service. Make it clear that customer service is a priority. Don’t assume that everyone knows that. Repeat the message: use office memos, send out an e-mail, or just mention it at your next staff meeting.
2. Measure your performance. There are many ways to do this, and it will vary based on the industry you’re in. For example, you might keep track of the service calls you get, with the reason for the call, the duration, and the outcome. It’s likely that trends will emerge from the data. You might also consider surveying your customers.3. Reward and recognize exemplary service. Positive reinforcement is by far the best way to encourage certain behaviors. Some might appreciate words of encouragement, some might prefer a handwritten card, and other might want to be recognized in front of the company. Everyone, though, will appreciate some extra rewards or bonuses.
3. Be an example. Never be too busy or too important to contribute to your customers’s experience. It is up to you to set the tone for how you want customers to be treated. More importantly, treat your employees the way you want your customers to be treated. Your best customer service asset is your employees.