One of the major concerns that many of our rental customers have is building consistency in how their customers are serviced. In order to accomplish this consistency, you need to set standards. These standards are guidelines that provide structure to important components of the customer interaction.
Not only do standards build consistency, they also provide training and coaching opportunities. Standards should model behaviors you can observe in your employees. When they do them well, you can recognize them. When they don’t apply the standards, you can coach and develop them. The standards are also good for employees because they know what’s expected of them.
With the implementation of standards, however, come some things you need to watch for. Concerns we get from our customers are that they’re afraid their employees will sound too scripted or robotic. They will not sound natural. That’s a legitimate concern. You want your customer service to be personalized and focused on the customer. You want it to be genuine.
You can have it both ways. Here’s how you accomplish that:
- Tone – Your tone defines you. It should be upbeat and friendly, not monotone.
- Develop the passion – you can tell when an employee likes his or her job and it makes a huge difference in the customer experience.
- Body language – your body language is a dead giveaway to how engaged you are in the interaction and this applies both in person and on the phone. Lack of a smile, being distracted and crossing arms are examples of negative body language
There are several techniques that can help you build a culture in which you have effective customer service and sales standards that sound natural and are delivered with passion:
- No scripts. Your standards should be guidelines, not word-for-word directives that sound robotic.
- Use recorded calls to coach and develop. If you or your employees are worried about sounding unnatural, then record some calls. Use these calls with employees to help them sound more natural.
- Role-play. Practice with your employees so they sound more natural when applying your standards. Just like most skills, the more practice they have, the easier and more natural it becomes.
- Training. Training will help develop buy-in and teach the specific skills related to your standards of sounding natural and genuine.
Your standards will provide important guidelines and build consistency as to how your customers are serviced. They will also help convert an inquiry to rental. Implement specific guidelines and then provide the training and reinforcement so these standards become second nature. As you get busier and bigger, you will be glad you have standards in place that help your organization sound more professional.
Barry Himmel, senior vice president for Signature Worldwide, has provided customer service and sales training across the country. For more information, visit www.signatureworldwide.com.