Monthly Archives: April 2019

Preparing your team for customer service training

Engage in customer service trainingHow to prepare and engage your team for customer service training

I’m just putting together the finishing touches for two customer service training workshops I am delivering next week. But I can’t do this alone.

When carrying out any training – customer service training or otherwise – what happens before and after is just as important as the training itself if you are to get a return on your investment of time, money and effort, and start to see a positive impact on your customers’ experience and their long term loyalty.

Whoever is delivering the training naturally there’s plenty to do before the training.

But it’s just as important to get the participants prepared if you want to get them engaged and turning up for the training in the right frame of mind.

Here are 3 considerations for getting started on the right track, whether you are delivering the training yourself or using an external trainer.

  1. Keep in mind delegates’ schedules and personal circumstances when scheduling the training. You can’t expect someone to spend several hours in a training session on top of a 9 hour shift and still get full benefit from the training. Or remain fully focused on the training if it means being late for the school run or missing the kids’ bedtime.Give plenty of warning and aim to schedule training so it doesn’t interfere with their normal routine outside work, or potentially getting behind in their work resulting in the stress caused by playing catch-up.
  2. Tell people what the training is about and why they are attending. Some people see training as a punishment or a criticism of how they do things now.Relate the training to a personal benefit; will it make their job easier, quicker, safer or more interesting? Will it put them in a better position to progress to a new role they aspire to? Will it give them more confidence and independence in their role?You shouldn’t ignore the business benefits, but help them identify what’s in it for them too, so at least they turn up to the training with a bit of enthusiasm.
  3. Recognise not every customer service problem equates to a training need.  If there are shortfalls are these down to lack of time, resources, motivation, or authority?  If so recognise these and have a plan to fix these otherwise they become an ‘excuse’ for people not to adopt change.Be careful not to use training as a way to improve one person’s shortfall when everyone else is already doing an excellent job. In my experience the good people see through it instantly (and begrudge having to waste time or worse see it as an insult, whilst the person it is aimed at is often blissfully unaware!

So if you only do one thing before your next training – tell people what’s in it for them.


Need help with the training itself?

Get all the materials you need to deliver your customer service training in house.



How to Re-energise, Enthuse and Engage Your Team

Engage your teamEngage your team after a busy Easter

I hope you had a good Easter, and if you were open you were able to provide all your customers with a good time and helped make some happy memories.

It’s probably back to business as usual today, but don’t forget to do a debrief. What went well, what didn’t go so well and what can we learn from it?

As a result, you may be planning on more training before your next peak time. If so I have just the thing for you, so you get maximum benefit.

Here are five ideas to re-energise, enthuse and engage your team for the next few weeks ahead

1. Say thank you

If your team were working hard right over Easter (and maybe missed out on family and friends events) don’t forget to tell them how much you appreciate their efforts.

Update your team on your achievements for the Easter period. What milestones has the business achieved, what were the highlights, and what’s been their contribution? Give praise where it’s due to create a buzz for the rest of the season ahead!

2. Near misses

In any business there are times when things don’t go according to plan or mishaps happen. Review what’s not gone to plan over the past few weeks. Rather than dwelling on the negatives, reflect on what you and the team have learnt from these events, and ask how equipped they are to deal with these situations if they happen again.

3. Fresh perspectives

There will always be little tweaks you can make to improve your service.

It’s amazing what your team pick up and the opportunities they see to improve the whole customer experience

Take a few moments this week to ask their views on any opportunities they can see to improve your service, to add value or make recommendations to customers.

4. What’s next

Update your team on what’s happening in your business and your plans for the next few months ahead, so they’ve a sense of purpose and focus.

It’s easy to feel you’re not achieving much in the first week after a particularly busy period. Whilst it’s good to catch your breath, don’t leave it too long before setting new goals. Allocating specific short term projects or goals gives everyone some fresh focus to get stuck in and see some results within the first few days.

5. New challenges

Not everyone wants to progress, but that doesn’t mean you let them stagnate. A bored employee is unlikely to wow your customers!

Schedule 1:1 reviews as early as possible to discuss individual contributions and where they fit in with your plans for the season ahead.

Discuss how you can add variety, set new challenges or stretch them.

Utilise strengths, providing further development where needed to bring out the best in these areas.

Take Action

And if you only do one thing give recognition to the team of a job well done.


related post: Play from a 10

How to change your team members’ moods

I’m sure from time to time even your most outgoing team members have their off days – those times when they are down, flustered, bored, angry or frustrated.

And of course, this impacts their colleagues.

And your customers.

Most people believe they can’t change their moods, but here are 4 things (including an exercise you can do with your team as part of your customer service training) you can do with your team to influence their moods, so they are more productive and engaged with their job and engaged with servicing your customers well.

Action point

If you only do one thing as a result of watching this, help your team members identify when they are in an unresourceful state and how to change this.

The First Rule of Upselling

London’s taxi service is the best in the world. If you get into a London cab you can be pretty certain the cabbie will know exactly how to reach the address you give him or her. That’s because they have to pass “The Knowledge” before they can drive a London Taxi, something that can take 3-4 years to master.

Although we wouldn’t necessarily expect quite such a detailed knowledge, every customer expects team members to have at least a basic knowledge of their products and services.

Here’s a scenario I’m sure you can relate to…

The other day I was standing in the lunch buffet queue. This was an impressive hotel in the Midlands, where the setting (and prices) suggested we were going to get an excellent experience.

Sadly this was not the case!

Don’t get me wrong – the ambience, interiors and views were fabulous, staff helpful. But there were so many simple things they just had not got right.

Of those, the one that frustrated me most was the lack of product knowledge. At lunch I asked the person at the buffet table (who I assumed was a manager by his suit) had no clue of the ingredients of any of the dishes! And the same thing happened at dinner when I asked the waitress to describe one of the dishes to me.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling rooms in a five star hotel, serving sandwiches in a café or the latest exercise class at the gym, customers want and expect your team to be able to give accurate information on your products and service so they can make an informed choice.

But this is even more important if you want your team to sell, upsell, or cross sell.

The first rule of Upselling

If you expect your team to cross sell or upsell or recommend additional products or services, as a minimum they must understand all the offers, products and services you provide. This goes beyond just a laundry list; it needs to include understanding of the features and of course the benefits from a customer’s perspective.

What’s included in a package, what are the different options, what are your recommendations or suggested combinations? A good understanding of your customers’ profile, needs and expectations will help this process.

Sometimes when I’m working with a business I’m alarmed by the lack of exposure staff have to other departments, and they then wonder why they don’t make any attempts to cross sell.

As examples: In a hotel – have any of your reservations team ever set foot in the spa, or seen first-hand the difference between a standard and an executive room? At a leisure centre – how many of the classes have your receptionists experienced first hand? In a travel business – have any of the consultants ever flown with the airline in question or seen the resort they are recommending (even if only a virtual view)?

Your team can never hope to convey to customers all the benefits of these products or services if they’d never had any first-hand experience, let alone describe them with any enthusiasm or feeling (or have empathy with customers when they’re trying to resolve problems).

You won’t necessarily be able to cover every conceivable angle. Such as, in a restaurant you might not expect every team member to have sampled every wine on the wine list! But they still need to understand the points of distinction and what complements which dishes.

Involve other team members who you know have an interest and passion for the service and/or products in question, who will be more than happy to share their knowledge with others and let their enthusiasm rub off. Your spa manager or therapists will do a better job of describing your treatments than a manager who isn’t involved in the spa every day.

However, help your team put things into context. For example, although your head chef knows everything about your dish of the day, all the ingredients and how it’s cooked, your customer may not be interested in the finite detail or be blinded by culinary terms. What they want to know is if it will satisfy their need – be that something hot and filling, light and refreshing, indulgent and rich.

It’s finding a way to describe your products and services so they sell themselves.

Take Action

If you only do one thing as a result of reading this – test your team members on their product knowledge of the top 10 products or services each might sell, upsell or cross sell. Don’t assume they know; put it to the test!

Need more help with upselling?

Adding Value and Boosting Sales is one of the modules in the Developing Service Superstars Programme. If you need to get your team up to speed with making recommendations and boosting your sales speak to me about a tailored programme or get the full Developing Service Superstars Programme right here