3 Ways In Which You Can Improve Customer Service and Get an Avalanche of Sales
by Dr. David Benton
Do you have a crew of employees that are unwilling to deliver good customer service? Is it because you are heavy-handed?
Customer service skills development is a tremendous tool in retaining customers and building new business for little or no cost.
1. Assess Your Current Customer Service Skills
The first step to enhanced customer service skills is to assess your current position. If you are operating a single retail unit, make a conscious effort to observe your employees interacting with your customers. Take notes when there is conflict, and when the employee handles a situation well. Observe each employee in action, and have someone else observe them while you are away. It’s amazing how some employees will give a different level of service when the highest ranking member of management is present verses other supervisors. You will want to get an accurate assessment.
If you are in sales, you will have to rely on your manager’s field assessment, when they visit you. Make sure to request a full and honest evaluation so you can improve. You can also ride with a collegue, requesting that they observe you and give you feedback.
2. Coach Your Employees
Be careful not to jump into the middle of your employee’s flow, during the issues. This can be difficult, but it is critical to build trust for the long term. If the employee is entirely out of line, you will obviously have to step in to guide them. By letting them handle the situation, even if they don’t handle it perfectly, you build the employee’s confidence. With some gentle guidance, at the proper time, you can guide them on optional ways to handle a similar situation that may develop later.
Never let a customer humiliate your employee by objectifying them, such as name-calling or cursing them. This is unacceptible behavior for any human being, and if your business is dependent on tolerating this type of social interaction, you should get into another business. Your employee deserves to maintain their dignity and respect while making you money.
As a manager, you may choose to step in and ask the customer to leave or continue to attempt to resolve the situation. Regardless, remove the employee from the line of fire, period.
Go over several ways to bring customers frustrations to a desireable resolution. One of the most effective ways that I know of to handle customer satisfaction issues is to create an empathetic mindset. Teach your employee to see the problem from you customer’s standpoint. It is so easy to take it all personally. We all are prone to feel like the customer is attacking us. The truth is, it’s the problem at hand, not us. Once you convice your employee of this, they will handle your customer with more tact, and correct problems with ease.
3. Praise Your Employees
Just as important as coaching, is to praise the employee when they handle a difficult customer with a good outcome. Remember, you may have failed to please this customer had you been the one handling their issue. Every customer reacts differently depending on the employee and the employee’s approach to the proble.
If you choose to discipline your employees with a heavy hand, you will discover that you are not their parent. You will have very few talented people willing to put up with your obnoxious, immature, and uneducated corrective measures. Since you are not your employee’s parent, many of the good ones will walk away, leaving you with the undesireable task of training a new employee. Those who are willing to stay will have an abundance of personality weaknesses that will be difficult to train.
You must encourage your workers on a regular basis and thank them for their help. Everyone responds well to encouragement and praise. It makes us want to try harder.
Take the time to evalutate your strenghts and weakness in your customer service delivery. Coach your employees and look for opportunites to praise them. You will begin to see immediate changes in customer-employee interactions that lead to business growth. All this can be achieved without any capital outlay whatsoever. Never underestimate the power a good customer service, when it comes to building and maintaining your business.
Dr. David Benton, is the author of Eliminate Competition with the R-Factor & Slaying the Giant Between Your Ears, Business Coach, & Mentor: