Hire Friendly, Helpful People at All Levels
Hiring people with the right personalities—not just the right skills—may be a key step in ensuring customers stay happy and well-served. Interviews with a prospective employee might include a series of “company culture” questions aimed at ensuring the person has the right upbeat attitude and friendly personality.
Train Employees to Be Focused on Serving Customer Needs
Once the right person is hired, they need to learn how to serve their customers most effectively—and that takes training. This includes a mix of product or service knowledge training—so that they can answer questions about those products or services—but also lessons on how to work together most effectively and deal with real-life situations, such as an angry customer or someone who wants to return a defective product they purchased.
Make Training Continuous—Not a One-Time Event
Employee training at many companies is often limited to the first few days or weeks on the job. But companies known for having the best customer service make training a continuous process and embed strong customer service in its culture. Rackspace, for example, hosts numerous different training programs for employees and provides certification for many different key skills that its employees may need. One program called “Manager Detox” trains newly promoted managers on leadership and team-motivating skills.
Build a Culture Around Offering Great Service
Companies that want to stand out for their customer service often ingrain that quality throughout their organization—not just among their frontline employees. Every employee, from the bookkeepers to the computer technicians, needs to be on board. “Great customer service starts at the top, with the leader defining what the service will be,” says Shep Hyken, a customer service consultant and speaker who’s written several books on the topic. “But then you have to define it, disseminate it, deploy it through training, demonstrate it through your own actions, defend it and celebrate it.”— Kelly Spors, American Express Open Forum
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