Why is customer service training alone useless and futile?

spirit-of-barrio[1]My love, my passion, my desire is to train and enable as many people as possible to provide exceptional service.  To put it simply, I just want everyone to be nice to one another. Is that really too much to ask? Not only that, but I love getting people excited about their work and jazzed up to work smarter. However, if no in-house follow-up occurs after a training, your team’s excitement will wane and nothing will change in your organization. The training then becomes a useless exercise in futility. So, what’s the key to maintaining momentum after you run your team members through a customer service training session? The key is to do something proactive.  Although there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, I do have various options that have worked well for many of my successful clients:

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Managers (and leaders) MUST model desired behaviors. If your team members were trained on a particular customer service protocol that focuses on the specific behaviors that they must demonstrate to deliver exceptional service, then managers must first demonstrate these behaviors themselves before you can hold others accountable.
  2. Create a Service Advocate Team. Or you may call the team whatever you like, but it must meet on a regular basis – no less than once a month – to discuss and implement customer service behaviors.  For example, one company had all staff members focus on smiling for one week straight. When coworkers found other co-workers smiling, they would give them an on-the-spot award. Added benefit: smiling is contagious and creates positive thinking.
  3. Constantly and consistently talk about and model exceptional service. The consistent service that you provide will become part of your brand. And when people think of your company name, you want them to associate it with exceptional service. This brand recognition is called TOMA (top of mind awareness).  By providing constant communication to your team members, you are also ingraining top of mind awareness in your staff. You need to keep reminding them that exceptional customer service is crucial. Otherwise, your team members will lose sight of how important your brand and image are to the survival of your organization.
  4. Reward team members who do it right – and communicate with those who don’t. When you catch team thumb_COLOURBOX1612843members doing customer service right and you reward them publicly, you are communicating to your entire staff which behaviors you want them to repeat. Remember: Behavior that is rewarded is repeated.
  5. Daily huddles.  Take 5 or 7 minutes before each shift, with your entire team, to communicate any changes about the day and give them a quick boost of inspiration. For example, one medical group client has found that daily huddles have created a more stress-free workplace, since everyone knows what everyone else is doing and what one another’s expectations are. Most team members now look forward to these daily check-ins.

Remember: Training alone is a short-term strategy. For long-term results, create in-house top of mind awareness by doing something – anything – to promote and reinforce the delivery of exceptional customer service.

What do YOU do to maintain the momentum after a customer service training class? Please share in the comments below.

4 Responses to “Why is customer service training alone useless and futile?”

  1. 1 sjdigioia August 12, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Hi Barbara,
    I have always loved training for customer service. Even if the staff forget most of what is taught there will always be something, even if it’s just one little thing, that will remain. And when you see it used and bring a smile to a customer or a heartfelt thank you, you realize that all the training was worth it.

  2. 3 cheyserrdelacruz September 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! Training should be a constant and continuous process. As what they say, practice makes perfect.

  3. 4 training November 13, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    This post is really a pleasant one it helps new net viewers, who are wishing in
    favor of blogging.

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