Monday, April 24, 2017

Customer Service - Employee Training

Wendy Wedum, Pondera County
Originally broadcast March 10, 2017
Last time, I started a series on Customer Service.  I started talking about employee support because they are the frontline of your business.  Based on a survey of Conrad Chamber members, business owners are the first person a customer sees only 25% of the time.  That mean that three quarters of the time the first person a customer sees in a business is an employee.  It is important to prepare your employees to represent you and set the tone for your business.
Training has several advantages for your business including:   choosing the skills to meet the needs of your business, better customer service, better work safety practices and productivity.
You show your workforce that you value them enough to invest in them which improves loyalty and staff retention.
Whether your employees are new or experienced, training can improve business performance, profit and staff morale. They acquire new skills, which increases their contribution to the business and it builds their self-confidence.
Providing the training during work time, shows that you value them enough to invest in them.  Usually businesses see an increase in following quality standards, ability to do a greater variety of work, improved productivity and customer satisfaction.  Training may reduce inefficient use of time and materials, workplace incidents, staff turnover and absenteeism, which also lowers the cost to hire new employees.
Providing employee training prepares them to manage a variety of situations and may free up time for business owners to work on manage their needs of their business.  When you show the quality standards you expect for your business employees will meet or exceed your expectations.  When employees learn how to do new skills it lets them take on a greater variety of work.
One of the skills that is often overlooked is using the phone.  Yet, it can be an important tool for businesses.  Many people were never taught how to answer the phone properly.  Most simply do what they see other people do.
How your phone is answered sets the tone for the type of business you run, potential for customer service
 For example, do you and your employees use the same greeting every time the phone is answered?  When answering the phone it is important to identify your business and yourself.  This way the person calling knows they have dialed the correct number and now the name of the person with whom they are speaking.
Here’s an example using a fake business called Logan’s Diesel Repair.  When I have call and the person answers with, “Hello”.  Then I’m wondering did I call the right place while looking for my glasses to make sure I dialed the right phone number and collecting my thoughts to ask is this Logan’s Diesel Repair?.   If the person who answered the phone used a simple greeting such as “Hello, Logan’s Diesel Repair this is Wendy”.  The person calling knows right away if they have made the correct call.  It also tells me about the level of professionalism because each time employees answer the phone with “Logan’s Diesel Repair” that’s free advertising that only takes a moment to do.
I encourage you to check how your business phone is answered and see if that is one small improvement that can be made right away.  If you have any questions or suggestions for future ideas on customer service, please call me at the Pondera County Extension office at 271-4054.

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