Customer Service

The Payoff of Prioritizing Customer Service Training

In today’s Advisor we’ll see how one company made customer service a priority—in part through service education and training—and experienced a great increase in sales as a result.

In a BLR webinar titled “Customer Service: How to Build a Culture of Exceptional Service in Your Organization,” Gregory P. Smith, CEO of Chart Your Course International, described the success of Zappos, whose gross sales steadily and rapidly increased over the course of eight years largely based on word-of-mouth and customer service.

The lessons learned from Zappos include:

  • Focus on the culture.
  • Know what makes people happy.
  • Be part of something bigger than yourself.

Zappos also values:

  • Autonomy
  • Transparent communications and all hands on deck
  • Training and continuous learning
  • Progression plans and internal mobility

An organizational alignment should begin with a purpose that includes vision, mission, and values. From there, strategic planning and customer focus can advance toward talent management and process management, which ultimately lead to results.

When results have been achieved, it’s important to maintain pride in management via:

  • Positive workplace
  • Reward/recognition enforcement
  • Involvement
  • Development and education
  • Continuous evaluation and improvement

According to a Gallup poll reported in Fortune, customers that are “emotionally connected” to a store spend 46% more than a customer that is satisfied but not emotionally bonded with the store.

Here are some key service training points:

  • Successfully complete customer service training.
  • Enter and exit all customer interactions on the human (personal) level.
  • Treat all customers with dignity and respect.
  • Make the workplace enjoyable. Smile and maintain positive eye contact.
  • Use the customer’s last name whenever possible and first name when invited.
  • Respond to the customer’s unspoken requests.
  • Always use open-ended questions with customers. Say, “How may I help you?”
  • Personally escort customers whenever possible rather than point and tell.
  • Answer the telephone within three rings. Include the company name or department and your name in your greeting. Show enthusiasm.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll focus on training employees to give their coworkers great service.

Gregory P. Smith is a dynamic leadership speaker, author, and change agent. He combines story and strategy to teach audiences how to create great places to work that manage change in the workplace and, growth and drive innovation. As CEO of Chart Your Course International, Greg helps executives and business owners with managing change and transforming themselves into best places to work that attract customers, drive employee retention, employee engagement, and greater job satisfaction. He works in partnership with business executives and delivers a portfolio of employee development strategies and leadership transformation strategies that produce measurable results by strengthening the performance and productivity of individual employees and the organization as a whole.