Real Customer Service is the Right People, Doing the Right Thing, at the Right Time
Business is like a machine – perhaps that’s why they call it “industry”. In order to run optimally, a machine needs to be taken care of with high-quality parts and appropriate maintenance. In your case, those parts are employees, and the maintenance has to do with hiring the right people for the job and training them accordingly.
Everybody is a Customer Service Agent
We touch on this in another article: everybody you hire is a customer service agent. They represent your brand, and all of them need to be able to help customers in a kind, professional manner when interacting with them. You may feel that shelf stockers or people in the IT department don’t really need to have customer service skills, but believe me, they do.
Besides customers, your employees have to get along with one another as well. You could hire somebody who’s good at a certain task, but if they’re rude or impersonal then it’s going to affect the morale of their coworkers. You might interview somebody who says, “Well, I don’t get along with others, but I’m good at what I do”. In this event, you may want to think twice before hiring them, because in a machine, a rusted part may be strong, but it can rust and corrode other parts.
In short: when hiring, make sure everyone you employ is worthy of representing your company as a customer service agent.
Know Who You Are, Know Your Voice
Your business needs a voice, and that voice must not conflict with itself. The customer service agents you hire must stand in unity for your business and deliver a consistent, powerful customer service experience.
Customer’s expectations for a positive customer experience are at an all-time low. They might WANT to be treated in a professional and friendly fashion, but not all of them EXPECT it. This is where your opportunity to claim them as a lifetime customer comes in, but in order to do that, your entire staff needs to work harmoniously to make it happen.
When Experience Works Against You
We mentioned the hiring phase; your employee foundation. Hiring the right people is critical, so don’t fall into the mentality that most business owners do in thinking that somebody with the most customer service experience is the most qualified to represent your business.
Experience is fantastic in most cases, but experience also means conditioning, and a conditioned person is often more difficult to recondition than working with a “blank slate”. If you look on hiring boards, businesses post job positions for a customer service representative, but often what they demand is somebody with two or three years of customer service experience in a related field before they’re willing to hire them.
Why demand such extensive experience, alienating so many potentially fantastic employees? Personality is paramount for both customer service and good social dynamics in the workplace, so why require such extensive background on somebody who can be trained to do the job just as well in less than a month?
Businesses can become so obsessed with their bottom line and cutting costs on things like employee training that they lose sight of the overall picture.
I gave you a statistic in another one of my articles. It was that 80% of business believe they deliver a superior customer service experience… while only 8% of their customers agree with that belief.
Don’t cut corners. Hire the right people, train them the right way, give them one voice – your business voice – and watch your company grow.