How valuable are your customers? Do you recognize and cherish each individual customer as a direct correlation to your business’ success? Or, do you simply think that it is just one customer? If your customer service representatives treat each customer as “just another customer,” how long is it before every customer is disappointed with the service your company is provided? Even worse, how long is it before the customers start taking their business elsewhere?
According to Harris Interactive’s 2009 Customer Experience Impact Report, 82% of consumers will quit doing business with a company after one bad customer service experience. Let’s say your company made $100,000 last year in profit. Decrease that by 86% and next year you may only be making $18,000. Can your company survive on that? If your company does not have a strong customer service initiative, there will never be a better time than now to turn it around.
So, how exactly do you train customer service representatives that have been with your company for years? Well, first off you should take the time to create a mission statement clearly proving your dedication to satisfied customers. Develop standards that must be followed by your representatives and include that in your mission statement. Clearly hang the mission statement around the office and at each worker’s cubicle. It will serve as a constant reminder to your increased dedication to customer service.
Next, create a responsibilities checklist for each of your customer service representatives. Once they know what is expected of them, they will be motivated to perform better. Equally important, now may be the time to conduct additional training sessions. Many companies make the mistake of simply handing their employees a manual and expecting them to grasp the complexities of their company, services, or products. If the customer service representative does not clearly understand the product, how exactly can you expect them to offer outstanding customer service? Take the time to ensure each employee understands all aspects of the product.
You may be thinking that you don’t have the time or money to set aside for training. However, how many of your dissatisfied customers leave simply because your representatives couldn’t even answer simple questions? Conduct training sessions by groups to ensure that employees are still available to your customers. You cannot afford to let improperly trained employees handle customers. At the end of the session, ask each representative if they still have questions. Ensure that you or their manager is always available to further explain something. Equip your representatives with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide superior customer service to your customers.
Also, clearly assign “power” to the representatives. If you have enough trust in their abilities, allow them to make crucial decisions on their own without having to take the time to seek a manager’s approval. Your customers will appreciate not having to sit on hold and you will save time and money. If there are instances where a manager must be brought in, be sure to provide that option to the customer service representative.
Increase motivation among your employees. Directly correlate your customers’ satisfaction with your business’ success (i.e. their job security and paycheck). Once the dedicated customer service initiative takes off, be sure to reward and recognize each employee’s efforts.
If you notice an increase in sales or repeat customers that can be directly related to your improved customer service retention, post figures and statistics. Your employees will notice and take pride in their efforts and the overall improvement of your company.
Take the time now to turn your customer service department around. With your competitors offering similar products at competitive pricing, let your superior customer service draw in new customers and retain existing customers.