Customer Service Training is not an event

Many Organizations aim to Train their Staff in Customer Service this Year

Lucy Kiruthu

In a competitive environment, repeat business should be every smart company’s desire. Customers return mainly when satisfied or if loyal both of which are directly influenced by how the staff interact with the customers and with each other. A common skill gap that most staff continue to attest to is customer service. Many seek to find out how best to interact with the customers and with each other. Learning departments in conjunction with line managers have been putting in place comprehensive skills training plans for 2014. In the first week of this year I have received calls from several Human Resources and Customer Service managers who intend to roll out Customer Service training. With millions in training budgets set aside, the next step and usually the most critical one is rolling out the training. If you Google Customer service training you get an overwhelming 566,000,000 results. This confirms just how wide-spread customer service training is.

I usually like to point out that Customer Service Training is not simply an event; it is a long-term process. It starts with induction training, coaching by managers and supervisors, regular refresher trainings, reward & recognition programs and having customer service excellence as part of regular employee performance reviews. These are a few of the ways that customer service training can be kept alive throughout the year. Any person involved in training should always remember that Customer Service is not like First Aid training. Customer service training must be impactful! Staff who are properly trained in customer service and who demonstrate an understanding of professional customer service should seek to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Remember though that Customer service begins with a company’s culture, which starts at the top. As such customer service training is not for the frontline staff only, it must include the executive team, managers and supervisors as well. Managers are responsible for ensuring that their teams effectively use the skills they have learnt. If managers do not go through the training, or if they don’t embrace the skills and philosophy taught, the training will usually have no effect. Customer service training should encourage staff and managers alike to treat each other and customers well. In return they are treated well and an attitude of service is developed and a culture of service built.

Investing in staff training makes them feel valued. Customer service training and coaching are some of the investments that have immediate and financially measurable bottom-line results. It improves the staff’s motivation to serve within a work environment that is service oriented making the interactions with customers memorable and worthy coming back. We all agree that satisfied and loyal customers are good for business. I always remark that they come back again and again and bring others with them. If you have not considered Customer Service skills as one of the drivers you need to achieve and maintain your business advantage, it is never too late. Just do it!

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