LOCAL BUSINESS SUCCESS CENTER

Tips, trends and marketing advice to help you grow your business.

Great customer service starts with training, and training starts with you as the business owner. If your staff isn’t properly equipped to handle customer requests, chances are that they’ll make mistakes that could be costly to your business. Want to set your employees up for customer service success? Here are 5 mistakes to avoid during training.

Mistake 1: Training? What Training?

Your small business likely doesn’t have a full-time customer service representative. Even if you do, he or she probably isn’t the only staff member helping out with customer service. Make sure all of your employees are trained to help customers, and have everyone adhere to the same guidelines so that your patrons’ experience is consistent across the board.

Mistake 2: Not Setting Tangible Goals

It’s one thing to tell your staff to answer the phone promptly, but telling someone and holding someone accountable are two different things. Setting concrete customer service goals will help clarify your expectations for employees and give them something to work towards. It will also help you benchmark success and have clear milestones for incentives and rewards.

Mistake 4: Forgetting Your Customers’ Needs

When you have a small staff, it’s tempting to take short cuts to resolve issues so that your team can get back to work. Don’t do it! Remember, your customers don’t just want their issues to be resolved—they want to feel like they’re a priority for your business. Train your staff to take the time needed to really listen to each customer and make sure their needs are met.

Mistake 5: Not Preparing for Bad Situations

Every business deals with unhappy customers from time to time. Leaving it up to your staff members to handle these situations on the fly is a recipe for disaster. Make sure your training includes clear directions on how to handle sticky situations, including a proper escalation hierarchy. They’ll handle complaints much more gracefully if they prepare in advance.

Mistake 5: Lack of Autonomy

Once you’ve trained your staff on how customer service should be handled, let them handle it. Except for difficult cases that require your input, your staff members shouldn’t have to come to you every time there’s a customer service issue. Not only will this type of system become a burden on your time, it will also quickly frustrate your employees. If you have concerns about specific staff members, you may not want them helping out with customer service at all.

The Bottom Line

Educate your staff members on customer service and clearly outline the standards you want them to meet. Make sure to cover the appropriate responses for different types of customer complaints so that no one is taken by surprise. Lastly, give your staff the ability to resolve inquiries on their own when possible—this will speed up the resolution process and give them a sense of autonomy and ownership over their customer service efforts.

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