Excellent Customer Service Skills – You Must Be Joking

Published on: Wed 6 August 2014 by Admin

Bad customer service is no laughing matter

“What me? Attend a customer service skills training programme!

“You must be joking! I went on a course when I left college.”

“I’ve been working here for 11 years now – no one’s complained.”

“Send the new people; it would be an insult if I were sent on a course.”

They simply don’t provide the training

Because they can’t get staff buy-in to attend customer service skills training organisations believe that making people attend is likely to be a waste. So they simply don’t provide the training. Consequently their team’s behaviours and skills remain unpolished and attitudes toward customers are mediocre at best.

Yet I wager that you and I are regularly on the receiving end of well-meaning but inept staff that provide a service to us.

I recently watched two waitresses in a very nice tea shop studiously clean three adjacent tables whilst my wife and I sat and waited. We eventually had to ask to place our order.

Cleaning the tables was the priority, not providing excellent customer service. Although when we were served the waitress was bordering on being friendly she just lacked polish.

The tea was good and the cakes excellent but our experience was one that certainly didn’t leave us with any eagerness to go there again or recommend it to others.

The Fawlty Towers experience

Later in the day, I called a hotel to confirm a booking for the following night. The receptionist answered in that sing-song worn out way that so many of them do.

‘Good morning, Boring Hotel, Jane speaking, how can I help you?’

Delivered as: ‘I don’t care, you’re just another caller, stopping me from doing what I have to do to get done, in my job’.  It set my expectations that this hotel was going to be at best lackluster or at worst a ‘Fawlty Towers’.

In both cases some small changes in awareness, change of attitude and some excellent customer service skills could have made so much difference.

So where’s the solution?

Well, businesses we work with have attacked this situation with our innovative Customer Journey Workshop approach – it works fantastically for both willing and resistant teams.

What do we do? Well, we don’t start by telling people what to do or how to do it. Instead we encourage them to explore the key touch points in their customer’s ‘journeys’ using ‘Disappoint’ ‘Deliver’ ‘Delight’.

We’ve progressively honed the workshops to ensure that people change their view massively (during the few hours that they attend them) about how they impact on the customer experience.

The key is that there’s a mass of positive learning that takes place unconsciously.

The groups are not ‘talked at’ or even ‘taught’ in any way. With a little leadership on the part of the facilitator, they follow the journeys, identify the strengths and areas for improvement; and then decide what they can do about it.

Interestingly, and almost without fail, even the worst cynics, old hands and those who are affronted at the thought of learning something new, make the best contribution to these workshops. Most surprisingly they’re the keenest to attend another session. They learn to examine how to change their behaviours and put ‘Wow’ into their customer service.

Excellent customer service skills

Wrapping up customer service training with different titles and approaches also helps limit resistance of the ‘resistors’. Using terminology such as ‘communication skills’ or ‘developing positive relationships’ can encourage participation.

Our customer service workshops are ideal for new and experienced team members who wish to develop their confidence and knowledge. They learn to appreciate the importance of having good customer service skills.

The ‘Customer Journey Workshop’approach gives people a surprising insight into what disappoints or delights customers. It really works to ensure businesses stand out from their competitors and by giving staff what they need – excellent customer service skills.