Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018
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Why your customer service training may backfire

This is the staff’s chance to implement what they learned in the customer service workshop today. Janice is asked to demonstrate how to greet the customer.

Scene: The customer walks up to the counter and is obviously in a hurry. He basically ignores the customer service rep and requests an item on the shelf behind the counter.

Customer: “I need that large box of widgets.”

The newly trained employee, Janice, totally ignores the customer’s urgency and robotically spits out the greeting she was trained to give each customer. “Welcome to Widgets R Us. How are you today?”

Customer: “I need that large box of widgets.”

The rep has yet to give the customer what he asked for and repeats, “How are you today?”

The customer is now agitated. Janice points out, “That’s the way our customers are.”

Janice is clueless. She was trying to be friendly and use what she just learned. However, she clearly did not learn to make the connection with the customer. She was rote with her delivery and merely did what she was taught. She needed a deeper understanding of why.

As a company, you can use your training dollars to ensure your staff knows what to say in every situation. However, until they learn to be customer-centric, you are not getting the most out of your money. In the instance above, Janice was not interested in the customer. She was interested in giving the greeting she rehearsed. Janice wanted the customer to, in turn, respond to her the way she felt he should.

Locally, I have experienced front-liners who may have had a little training and get frustrated with customers that do not fall in line. I personally have been assaulted with “Good morning” by employees who obviously feel the customer must greet them to be served.

Customer service training should help your staff to think differently. To create a good experience for the customer, you must be observant and connect with their needs. Rapport is not built simply by saying the right words, it is built from an attitude.

Let’s rewind the scenario above. When Janice noticed the customer was in a hurry and skipped the pleasantries, she would have satisfied the customer by matching the customer’s urgency. She would have gotten an A+ if she had quickly handed him the requested item and asked if there was anything else she could do to help him.

Training can provide guidelines, but excellent service comes from a focus on taking care of the customer and making sure their experience with you meets their needs and feels good. Following scripted responses is not enough.

Most companies train their teams to follow their policies, however their reps struggle to communicate in a way that conveys the company is looking out for the customer.

For training to truly be effective your team needs to know not only what to say but how to say it. For the words to come out right, they need help to develop a mindset that will support their approach.

Find out how we can help your team to better represent your organization and provide outstanding service through connecting with your customers.

• Kim Welcome is the CEO of Influential Voice. A communication trainer and coach, she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. Contact: kimwelcome@influentialvoice.com or call 242-225-9013.

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