When you’re a customer and want to make a complaint the last thing you want to hear is “I’ll have to go and get my manager…”
Not only is it frustrating for you as the customer, it’s demeaning for the employee and time consuming of the manager.
So what’s the process in your business when a customer has a complaint? Do your team have the skills and confidence to deal with complaints, and do their line managers have the skills and confidence to train, coach, and support them?
I’m super excited to announce my book ‘Creating Service Superstars’ is now published.
It is a manager’s guide to building your team’s confidence, initiative and commitment to creating a memorable customer experience.
I’ve kept it nice and short (69 pages) so it’s an easy read and hopefully doesn’t become one of those tomes gathering dust on the book shelf and never gets read.
This is some of the feedback I’ve had to date…
“I love love love your book. I can hear you in the pages. Much of what we discussed is echoed here in your book. This tells me that you have a command of your craft and are a true subject matter expert.
“I find the book extremely easy to read and easy to follow. I love how your examples cover various industries. I find the “Actions” section at the end of the chapters very helpful.
“I consider you an authority on the topic and am so humbled you asking me to read your book pre-release.”
“Caroline’s new book is a treasure trove of ideas for any customer service team member – and any manager or leader involved in this critical area of the business. In fact – it should be mandatory reading for anyone who touches a customer – regardless of their job title or function.
“This book is a self-learning tool anyone interested in improving service will benefit from as they apply the ideas, methods and systems.
“ Creating Superstars is an essential guide for the service industry, whichever sector you work in. This book brings to life Caroline’s extremely effective customer service workshops. Starting with a clear vision from the leaders to enthusing the team and generating that essential oxygen of customer loyalty”
“I do not hesitate in recommending this book to anyone who really wants to grow their business.”
“I think it is fabulous, I started off thinking this is exactly how I think and I want to give it to my staff telling them that this is what I am talking about, please read it three times over and start embracing! I think for some people it will be a light on moment.”
It’s available NOW on Amazon. You can get instant access to the Kindle version for just 99p from Amazon UK or $1.22 on Amazon.com. It will only be available at this launch price until next weekend (15th January) so order it now while you can.
And if you like the book and would be happy to write a review for me on Amazon I’d be delighted to send you a complimentary copy as a thank you. (I just ask you pay a contribution to postage if sending to outside the UK). You can always pass it on to a customer or a supplier if you don’t want to read it again!
p.s. here are the links again to grab your copy by Sunday 15th
As part of your customer service training by defining what great customer service looks like the better your team understand your end goal and the easier it will be for them to deliver the customer experience you are aiming for.
It’s not just about the behaviours you expect your team to demonstrate in dealing with customers, but it’s thinking about the whole of the customer experience from end to end.
If you don’t already have your service criteria clearly defined you may want to start with a discussion on your company values and expectations towards the customer experience. What is the style and ethos of your business, and how is this reflected in the way you serve your customers?
What do your customers value most?
Understand your customer and who you’re targeting, and reflect on what it is that your customers expect and how they define great service.
If everyone understands what you’re aiming for it makes it so much easier to make decisions based on this outcome. It becomes a part of your culture and way of doing things. And it certainly makes training easier as you know exactly what you’re aiming for.
What’s the experience you’re trying to create?
Over 50% of the customer’s experience is down to emotions. The emotions you create for your customers will define your brand and ultimately build advocates. Focus on – and consistently deliver – the things that matter so your business stands out.
So define those emotions you’re looking to achieve. This then helps get a discussion going on how you might achieve these (which you can incorporate into your training), but this becomes a useful reference point for everyone if they know this is the end goal.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you are a business offering luxury services or products many of your team members may not have experienced these themselves first-hand. So do they really understand what’s expected of them or know when they have delivered it?
Here’s a short exercise to see how you fare and where you might need to focus to get the best from your team in delivering a great customer experience.
How would you define your customer service values?
What aspects of service do your customers value most?
How would you define the type of experience you’re trying to create?
How readily could your team relate to this experience?
What else needs to happen and who else do you need to involve in defining your customer service values?
Once you’ve completed it for yourself, ask your management team to answer each of the questions and finally ask your whole team to answer questions 1-3 (not just customer facing). It will be interesting to see if you all agree!
I’ve been starkly reminded this month just how important it is to be a role model for your team.
I’ve been in a couple of businesses recently where, although the managers and senior team are completely bought into the importance of delivering memorable customer service, sadly that ethos has not filtered down to the line managers of the customer facing team.
Take for example some training I did last week where I had a line manager defending one of his team for being rude to customers. And another whose body language said it all during the customer service training.
No one can ever really expect their team to deliver first class customer service when they don’t get the motivation, encouragement and support from their line managers. Their behaviour really does breed behaviour, and any apathy or reluctance towards customers and your service ethos will invariably be damaging.
And of course it’s not just how line managers treat customers. How they treat their team sets the whole tone.
Whenever I conduct customer service training in person I know that the training on its own will never be enough to change people’s behaviours. It’s what happens before and afterwards. So without the managers buy-in and support to embed new habits and behaviours it won’t be long until everyone’s back to their old comfortable way of doing things.
So what ever training you are planning in your business, be that customer service skills or otherwise, first check you have the line managers buy in. And if not work on them first!
Lack of buy in from line managers is just one reason why customer service training fails.
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Is your business like the seven Swans are swimming, all serene on the surface, but chaos behind the scenes?
To deliver the same consistent level of great customer service and customer experience you have to have systems in place, otherwise no two days will be the same and no two customer experiences will be the same.
To build trust you need to ensure each customer’s second, third, or 30th visit is at least as good as their first.
Review your customer journey regularly to be sure to deliver on every occasion. With regular customers this means continuous improvement, as they will have set expectations, which we need to strive to exceed on every visit.
Have systems for your team to follow to deliver this, whoever is on duty…. Not just your exceptional employees, even your average ones should be able to deliver outstanding service every day.
Your aim should be for Consistency +1%.
Simple things delivered well will always be better than trying to be over sophisticated and delivering it badly.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…
five gold keys to 5 star service
I believe there are five things that make up 5 star service:
Defining and sharing your customer service values
Define the type of experience you want your customers to have and work backwards. Ask yourself what you liked them to feel, say or do as a result of doing business with you, based on what’s of importance to your customers. Once you’re clear on this it’s a lot easier to determine all the things that need to be in place to enable this to become a reality.
The customer journey
Review your customer journey from end to end starting at the point your customers first hear about you. Get into their shoes and look at everything from their perspective; it’s the little things that can make such a massive difference to a great, mediocre or disappointing customer experience.*
Empower your team and encourage them to use their judgement to do whatever is best for your customers. Provide them with the relevant skills, knowledge and confidence to meet your customer service values.
Be the perfect role model for your team by demonstrating how much you value your customers. Give them the relevant support, tools, resources and training to meet your customer service values.
Systems and resources
Make sure everything’s in place so everyone your team can meet your customers’ expectations consistently. Not just your exceptional employees, even your average ones should be able to deliver outstanding service every day. (More on this on the seventh day of Christmas!)