Recently I was contacted to arrange a time to have a meeting with the Head Office of a Retail Chain. They were wanting to talk to me about how we could provide sales training for their frontline managers. The meeting went well, and we arranged all the necessary times for the training.
At the end of the conversation I asked the head of Training and “Customer Services” what training they had in place for Customer Service (as Customer Service is my passion, and I am on a mission to bring old school, old style service back in a big way).
This is the reason for this article, as their answer just floored me.
As soon as I asked the question, within a matter of seconds the answer shot out…. “we don’t see any value in training our customer facing staff in customer service training. It is something they SHOULD JUST KNOW. We expect them to get up to speed in their own time” (yup, my mouth is still wide open with shock).
Here is where the issue lies.
As a business, we can never just assume our staff “know” the right and correct way to do anything. To be very honest, training staff in the area of sales and the art of upselling is totally useless if the customers experience during that process is nothing short of amazing. For a company to have a tangible culture, it has to be taught, instigated and nurtured. It can’t be up to individual staff members to set it by default.
It really shows that today, unfortunately there are many businesses who have a band aid approach to major issues within their business model. Training, and I mean proper training seems to be few and far between these days.
It seems that lately businesses are more willing to invest money in areas that really have no effect on the customers experience, instead of realising that unless they do, their customers will end up going to other businesses where they feel more valued and appreciated.
As the title of this article states, what you water… grows. If you are not going to invest into your staff, into the structure of how customers get treated, and in the culture that your customers will be walking in to, then everything else is just surface effort. Without happy and returning customers, everything else we do is a little bit irrelevant.
Unfortunately, these days, it seems a lot of businesses are expecting a harvest but they either have never planted a seed or if they have, they have never watered or cultivated those seeds to ensure they grow, prosper and multiply.
It must be a deliberate and calculated approach!
That is exactly what we need to do with our staff. There is no use teaching them the “How” of customer service if they also do understand and appreciate the “Why”.
I am passionate about customer service, mainly because as a consumer I rarely experience anything other than a vanilla experience. It is those businesses who see value and importance in training their staff who will be the ones who will last the longest. Having a “ready, fire, aim” mentality to training, or only addressing it after it’s too late will result in static business outcomes.
Justin Herald is the Managing Director of Customer Culture. He is also the Author of 8 International Best-selling books and speaks at over 100 conferences globally each year.