2. Review shop call specifics. This face-to-face discussion with your employee is often a springboard for constructive internal coaching. Be sure to highlight areas in which the employee excelled and then discuss areas for improvement. Emphasize the value of each call to your business, especially during a challenging market. The phone is the pipeline to new sales. These calls provide a great development tool in regards to customer service levels and the execution of selling strategies.
3. Encourage practice. Much like building any skill, improving customer service and sales techniques happens over time and with practice. Therefore, be sure to support and encourage employees. Whether it is role-playing customer interactions with co-workers or discussing best practices during regular meetings, newly learned behavior needs to be reinforced for lasting change to occur. While it can be argued that providing legendary customer service isn't rocket science, it isn't natural for many employees, either.
4. Get help. Often, there are limited internal resources to continually assist in developing customer service skills through training. If outsourcing is possible, your training partner can help set objectives to match your company's goals. Talk with the instructor or the training company so they understand your particular business challenges and make sure they are willing to tailor their program for you.
Many businesses talk about the importance of customer service, but few actually deliver the goods or do so consistently. Part of the problem is that companies don't take the time to spell out what good customer service means to their business and define behaviors that employees must exhibit.
Without a clear customer service manifesto, training, and the implementation of these critical skills, becomes random ? if it happens at all. And without training, it's up to employees to decide how they're going to treat customers. I'm sure that is not the best recipe for success, especially when an employee is having a bad day.
While you may think there is a short-term fix, there is no magic wand when it comes to building a customer service-oriented culture. It is a long-term commitment. To truly stay competitive, owners and managers of rental centers need to invest in ongoing training and reinforce and measure those skills. In most organizations, it takes months to adapt the skills to the culture. Reaching the point where your team's customer service skills become a differentiator takes discipline, commitment and a passion to serve that is communicated to your staff.
Barry Himmel is a senior vice president for Signature Worldwide, a Dublin, OH-based sales and marketing consulting company offering customer service training, marketing and mystery shopping services for the equipment rental industry. For more information, call (800) 398-0518 or visit www.signatureworldwide.com/pr.