It always amazes me the differences of opinions on whether customer service training really works for organisations and companies. Last week I was in a meeting with a group of Middle managers and this debate came up.
One even said ‘I don’t really believe in investing my time and money into customer service training to find they then leave and move on to another company’. I was dying to use the old saying training companies use which is:
‘There is only one thing worse than training your staff and then they leave, and that is not training your staff and then they stay’
The debate went on for a long time and was highly interesting as some felt it was a waste of money while others felt it was highly important and saw it as an investment. Some felt that it was the least they could do for their staff to upskill them and give them the tools necessary to carry out their roles in an effective professional manner.
Someone then stated that well trained professional staff are able to create a ‘feel good factor’ and that in any organisation it is important that your customers feel this. She went on to give this as an example:
‘Let’s suppose you were in competition with a company in the same geographical area as you, selling identical products at identical prices, what would be the thing that would make people buy from you and not from the competitor?….it’s the feel good factor.
So what is this feel good factor and how can you learn this on a customer service training course? Well to be honest I don’t really know as it could be down to people’s perception, but when I thought about the comment what makes someone buy from you and not someone else? I did think back on the numerous occasions where I had purchased specific things in specific shops because I preferred them, or dealt with specific salespeople over others because I liked them or related to them.
The funny thing about the above statements is that there are said to be 2 key steps involved in creating the right impressions, which are vitally important to creating that feel good factor that is so often mentioned in customer service training and they are:
- To create a professional image
- Be personable
So going back to the question do customer service training and customer service training courses really work for team members and organisations. I would say undoubtedly it depends on the trainer and the participants but if the above 2 items form part (not all) of the training and learning then they do. Obviously there is a lot more to customer service training than the above 2 areas.
In saying that, if we examine even the first of the 2 key items in slightly more detail, we can then see that if the team are good at these areas the likelihood is they will create that ‘feel good factor’ I mentioned earlier.
Create a Professional Image
How do you do this? Well it could be as simple as the way you look or the way the environment you work in looks which all impact on the overall perception customers get. We often hear things like first impressions are important and you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
I told this story on a customer service training course about a time I took my wife away to a very upmarket hotel for a weekend. When we arrived there was a car park in the basement of the hotel and the best way to describe the car park was that it was filthy. We the got the lift to the reception area and there were all smears on the glass of the mirror in the lift and a stale smoky smell, this was years after the smoking ban had been implemented so I guess it was not from someone smoking plus I did see a smoke detector so it is unlikely someone was having a crafty cigarette in the lift.
At this stage I was thinking maybe we should turn back but the hotel was paid for and there was no real turning back at that moment. Amazingly enough when we got out of the lift I was pleasantly surprised as the lift opened out into a beautiful reception area with crystal chandeliers etc.
The reception was nice our room was nice, but I would still think twice about staying there again or recommending it to someone else based on my first impressions.
I often say on customer service training courses, if I could invent a drink that people could take and it would give them good interpersonal skills and make them personable I would probably be the wealthiest person in the world. Unfortunately it does not work like that, but you can never underestimate the importance of being personable.
People buy people is a saying you often hear and it is so true. I remember seeing printed on a T. shirt once ‘some people light up the room when they walk in and others light up the room when they walk out’
We have all been to the shop where the shop assistant ignores you or stands with their arms folded and just does not want to be there. In a face to face environment body language is over 55% of communication and a pleasant smile, eye contact and welcoming open body language makes a massive difference.
So overall the final questions are would you prefer to deal with a company who have the correct professional image and whose staff members are personable? I am sure the answer would be of course.