How to Teach Your Team Customer Service
Have you ever called a company for the first time, only to have the person on the other line answer with “Hello”? Nothing else. Just hello.
As the caller (and customer) you might wonder if you even have the right number.
Poor customer experiences, like this one, can spell disaster for any business.
And the facts don’t lie.
Roughly 89% of consumers leave a business for a competitor after a poor customer experience.
It’s critical that you train all of your employees in customer service so that you can retain more customers and create raving fans. After all, repeat business equals repeat profits.
If you’re not sure how to train your team in customer service, partnering with a business coach like Rick and Mark Phelps of ActionCOACH can help.
Here are 5 things that a business coach can help you with when teaching your employees customer service.
1. Define Your Ideal Customer
“One of the ways that we’ll kick off working with a client when it comes to customer service is asking questions such as, ‘Who is your ideal customer? Do you have their demographics and interests defined? And are they defined well?,’” said Mark Phelps.
“If you haven’t defined who your customer is, then you don’t know who you’re talking to, and you need to know how to go about talking to them,” said Mark. “Depending on who they are, you are going to talk to them a bit differently.”
For example, if you own a real estate agency and sell luxury homes, you’ll need to train your team on how to speak to wealthy clients.
Similarly, in marketing, you’ll likely speak to your target audience in a different way – perhaps using terms that resonate with them.
By partnering with ActionCOACH, you’ll learn how to best communicate with your customers through the DiSC personality system.
DiSC is a non-judgmental tool used for discussion of people’s behavioral differences. It includes a series of questions that produce a detailed report about your personality and behavior.
This assessment is especially beneficial in applying the platinum rule: treat others as they want to be treated.
By learning someone’s personality style, you can adjust and adapt how you communicate to match their approach.
For example, if your customer is focused on results and very direct it would be best to get straight to the point with them.
On the other hand, if your customer is more people-oriented and indirect, you would want to slow down and explore multiple options with them.
2. Identify Your Customer’s Experience
Once you’ve defined who your customer is, you’ll want to identify the experience that your business is creating for a customer.
Taking it a step further, ask yourself: What is the customer’s experience when they are interacting with your store environment, your department, call center or sales team?
“When you look at a process through that lens, you get a very different understanding of that process than it’s just a task that needs to be completed,” said Mark. “The experience becomes more personal and less transactional.”
Closely related to identifying the customer experience is anticipating what the customer expects when working with you.
3. Anticipate the Customer’s Expectations
Customer service should always delight and exceed expectations.
As a business owner, you should learn and anticipate what the customer expects, and work to deliver those expectations consistently.
“Leadership goes all ways – you can lead from the bottom and you can lead from the top,” said Mark. “A lot of it [customer service] is really anticipating what’s going on in the other person’s head.”
“That way, you can then focus on how to improve the customer’s experience. And you can become obsessed with it as a company, applying it to all aspects of your business,” said Mark.
For instance, you can apply it to your sales process. You can look at the experience of the person going through your sales process and work to improve it.
You can also apply it to your product’s packaging. Perhaps you include a handwritten note or package it in a way that will be memorable, impressing your customer.
4. Deliver and Continually Improve the Customer Experience
Creating a consistently good customer experience requires documenting your processes and training your team on those processes.
For instance, answering the phone in a professional manner and within a reasonable time frame are basic and extremely important customer service fundamentals.
Once you provide a strong foundation in customer service for your team, your focus should be on improving your processes to delight your customers.
“Everything we do with our process improvement is about improving the customer experience,” said Mark.
“The more we obsess over customer experience, the more we put our thumb on the pulse of what our value proposition is, and the more we’re holding up a mirror to how well we’re actually doing,” said Mark.
This rings especially true for leaders whose focus is on providing their staff – their customers – a great experience. Leaders want to know how well they are doing.
A leader can gain insight into the team’s perspective by working with a coach, who will administer a 360-degree feedback.
A 360-degree feedback is a method and tool that allows the leader to understand how his or her effectiveness is viewed by everyone they interact with.
5. Know the Customer is NOT Always Right
While fine tuning the customer experience is sound business practice, there is a flipside – the customer is not always right.
The truth is customers might be misguided. And companies get too caught up in accommodating them.
“The customer is not always right,” Mark echoes. “They may want something, but through our experience we know that it’s not going to give them the end result that they want.”
“They may want something that will throw off the consistency that you deliver, and we know that customers generally care about consistency above all else.”
A business coach can help you discern scenarios where a customer’s intentions to improve your business may actually cause more harm than good – saving your customer experience.
In summary, be curious about what your customer experience is, and how you can improve it with any given process that you already have in place.
By defining who your ideal customer is, identifying their experience, and anticipating and delivering on their expectations consistently, you’ll create a better customer experience and help your team fully understand customer service at all levels of the organization.