It doesn’t matter what type of establishment you’re in; whether it’s a hotel, supermarket or a restaurant, the impression the staff you’ve employed leave on the customers determines whether they’ll be returning, or whether they’ll be taking their business elsewhere. Essentially, the staff on the floor are the face of the brand and customers rely on them to receive assistance whenever they need it, so here’s how to train staff on good customer service: tips for managers.
Regardless of how amazing your product is, the attitude and customer service of your staff can make or break the reputation of your business.
While some aspects of good customer service might come naturally to some, such as empathy and good communication, managers should go out of their way to ensure their staff are getting the best training possible. Some of the tips for managers include:
- Define quality customer service
- Educate staff on good customer service
- Teach your staff the skills they need
- Implement regular training
- Put them in scenarios
- Evaluate customer service regularly
1. Define Quality Customer Service
Before you begin training your staff, they need to know what good customer service even is. You might have employed somebody who has never worked in the environment of dealing with customers before, so they can’t be expected to have flawless customer service right off the bat.
Your staff need to know what good customer service looks like, so that could mean you show them some other members of staff in action and the way they’re handling customers, or getting out on the shop floor yourself so they get a firsthand look at what they’re expected to do, such as greeting customers with a smile and how to handle enquiries. If your staff are able to see what’s expected of them, they will be able to implement good customer service a lot better and quicker than simply being told what to do.
2. Educate Your Staff On Good Customer Service
Good customer service isn’t just standing there and smiling at customers when they enter and exit, it’s about helping out with queries customers are bound to have, so that means as the manager, it’s your job to educate your staff on the products you are selling.
For example, waitstaff should be taught about the food you’re serving and the ingredients that go in, staff in a tech store should continually be taught about the new products and specifications so they are able to help with technical questions, as opposed to telling customers they simply don’t know and can’t help. That’s poor customer service.
Your staff should be experts on your products and services. You should train your staff on pricing, specials and promotions. Customers should leave feeling they've had their questions answered, and that they have received all the possible help. You will want customers to feel that staff members went out of their way to assist them.
3. The Skills You Need To Teach Your Staff
To implement a regular training programme to teach good customer service, the manager needs to outline the types of skills they want their staff to learn. For example, a head chef probably won’t need to be doing the same type of training that a retail worker at a clothing store would be undertaking, so it all depends on the type of establishment that you are.
Generally, the skills that managers should be teaching their staff members on good customer service are very simple. Things like smiling, greeting, and positive language are crucial, as staff members are the first people customers see and if they are approaching somebody who looks like they don’t want to be there, they’ll turn right back and head out of the store. Managers should also train staff on how to be more patient and not lose their cool with more difficult customers, while staff should be able to show empathy and confidence in certain situations.
Managers should also go out of their way to motivate their staff members, such as improving working conditions and providing them with a clean uniform along with safe and comfortable footwear. If you aren’t going out of your way to help your staff, then that lack of motivation can translate over to the way they deal with customers, especially since your staff members are likely to be on their feet all day so if they are comfortable, they’re more prone to remaining positive and providing good customer service.
4. Implement Regular Training
Once you have outlined the skills you need to teach your staff, it’s crucial that you begin to put together a regular training programme so that the skills they learn always remain fresh, and staff members don’t forget certain aspects. There are always new skills to learn, and you will be able to keep track of when your staff last received training, and which areas they still might need to improve in based on what you’ve seen when your staff are dealing with customers.
Don’t be afraid to modify your training programmes either, if it doesn’t seem to be effective then you should switch your method and implement something simpler that would get better results. You may even choose to sign your staff up to online courses where you can track their progress to see what they are and aren’t learning, and assist them in their areas for improvement. While it could be an additional task you might not need on your already-full plate, implementing training programmes to help your staff members will be the reason customers continue flooding through the doors.
5. Put Staff In Scenarios
There’s only so much you can do as a manager when it comes to training programmes, as nothing beats the real thing, that’s where the true test lies. Your staff shouldn’t be made aware of the fact that they’re being tested, as you can plant customers to act in a certain manner towards a staff member where you can see how they’d react when you’re not around.
This method ensures that you’ll know whether your staff have picked up the necessary skills on how to provide good customer service, while negative feedback means they either need further training, or that particular staff member isn’t the right fit for your establishment. For example, you could have a customer act angrily towards a staff member to see how they would react in that situation, or even have them ask countless questions on a product to see if staff can assist them in their queries, and you can also track to see whether your staff are knowledgeable on the products they’re selling.
6. Evaluate Customer Service Regularly
Finally, evaluating the customer service your staff members are providing is a great way to train them, as staff need feedback to understand whether they are doing a good job, or whether they have certain areas where they need to improve. Remember, if certain staff members are providing a poor customer service and you - as a manager - are not doing anything to combat this, then it’s detrimental to your business.
You could have customers fill out short surveys before they leave or at check-out so they can explain how their experience was, then you can use the responses as your starting point from which to improve; even if it’s negative, you’ll be able to learn what your customers are experiencing, what is working and what isn’t.
Help Keep Your Staff Safe When On Their Feet
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