By Daniel C. Felsted
Are you grooming your employees to help your business double its sales? Yes, it’s true, you can improve your business by 100% when you train your employees to provide exceptional customer service. Of the customers who decide to stop doing business with you, 68% leave unsatisfied because of an attitude of indifference by a single employee.
The attitude of your staff reflects on your name and your hard earned brand, which is the same for a small business owner. This being the case, you need to take steps to lead and guide your employees to embrace those who provide your livelihood.
Create a Plan
• Begin by developing customer service best practice standards. Make them simple, easy to understand and implement.
• Decide what customer service actions are expected of your employees and when and how to make exceptions to keep the customer happy.
• Define why your employees’ role in your customer service standards program is important to the organization and how it will help their career.
• Develop a customer service recognition program that rewards your employees for applying these standards.
• Outline an accountability contract that clearly defines your employees’ responsibilities and consequences when they fail to uphold your customer service standards.
Now for the most important part of this plan, after you have developed all of these standards, after all of the hard work it will take to develop your plan, train your employees. Teach them first, by example, then by action, show them how important your customers are to you. Create roll plays, share examples of good and poor customer/employee interaction. Show them how these principles apply on and off the job.
You will need to monitor and plan for continued training through-out an employees’ tenure. Some might see this as a burden, but know this, this cost of doing business is far less expensive than the cost of getting a new customer and for that matter, hiring and training a new employee. It cost 5 times more to get a new customer than to keep an old one, and it cost 16 times more to get that new customer to be as profitable as a lost loyal customer.
Empower Your Employees
Now that you have developed and trained your employees in these best practices, give them the power to implement them. Your customers will reward you, and reward you handsomely for the excellent services you offer.
Reap the Rewards
Customer service oriented companies outperform their competitors two to one. These loyal customers are more pleasant and shop more frequently. They purchase more products, refer more new customers, and are more forgiving if problems occur.
So take the time that is needed to train and retrain your employees. The rewards are substantial and it’s the best spend of your marketing dollar.
If you are looking for some additional ideas on how to improve your customer service practices read “How to get your employees to work harder and love doing it.”