Do you want to focus on customer service skills? Start with your policies

I’ve received several requests over the past few weeks to conduct training on customer service skills.  Can I do that?  YES- I can definitely do that.  But let’s really understand what we are asking for when we embark on a corporate desire to improve our customer service skills.

First… Is your true focus on the customers?  Let’s not just talk about SKILLS that enhance the customer’s feelings.  Let’s talk about your processes.  Are your supervisors coaching to your numbers such as talk time or after call work time or are they digging into the details of why your employees are spending time on the phone talking with customers?  You may be wondering what this has to do with customer service skills… It has EVERYTHING to do with it.  If your employees are not receiving the modeling from your leaders of what their conversations should sound like and are primarily or only being told that their numbers are not where they should be, the focus is not on the relationship with the customer.  Get your supervisors focused on truly analyzing your business from a behavioral standpoint, not just a numbers standpoint- and then we can start talking about customer service…

Take a look at your policies and how you are communicating your policies to your employees who are then passing the communication on to your customers.  When an employee comes to a leader with an escalated situation, does your leader drop everything and put that customer first in order to help achieve first contact resolution?  OR does the leader tell the employee that she/he is needs to take a message and the customer will be called back in the next 24 hours? Look at how escalated calls are handled and then we’ll talk about customer service skills…

And how about the policy of training your employees that it is OK to hang up on a customer when the customer uses foul language?  Is this solving anything?  To promote to your employees that they are allowed to say, “Sir/Ma’am if you continue to speak with me that way, I am allowed to hang up on you” does not promote a focus on personal responsibility nor does it focus on solving the root cause of the problem.  It sounds threatening to tell a customer that we allowed to hang up on them.  Does that feeling promote the mission of stronger customer service skills? Look at the mentality behind handling upset and irate customers.  Is the goal to force them to cooperate OR is the goal to understand their frustration and help them to see that you are there to help them?  Look at the goal behind handling very upset customers and then we can talk about customer service skills…

These are just a few of the policies or unwritten rules that are being followed within your organization.  Look at your rules and policies as the first starting ground behind driving higher customer service and then we can talk about the customer service skills of your employees.

Look for more tips this week about driving a higher customer focused culture within your organization.

Contact me if you have any questions about your organization’s customer service culture.

What policies (written and unwritten) are my employees following that do not promote a customer focused culture? 


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