Here we are, New Chapter Learning, one year on. Our first year in business has had a clear focus on a couple of aspects of what we do – Customer Service and Leadership Development, both linked to clear learning interventions.
So what is it that makes for a really great training course. I’ve been privileged to be training a Customer Service Programme for the last few weeks and had some excellent feedback from my delegates, including the plaudit of being ‘the best trainer they’ve had’ and ‘the best course they’ve been on’, so what made the difference?
Was it the sweets I had on the tables? Was it the trainer toys a plenty? Was it the funny stories I told to bring the learning to life? Was it relating the learning directly to the learners day job? Was it being open and honest and being comfortable with the group injecting some fun and laughter into the classroom? or was it the course content being informative, engaging and diverse or indeed a combination of all of the above?
How many courses have you been on where you’re constantly checking your watch wondering when you can escape or asking yourself why you’re even on the course?
Let me ask you, when you’ve been on a great training course what is it that’s set it apart and made it great?
How often have you gone into a retailers and the sales assistants have ignored you, or acknowledged you briefly when you got to the till, only to start up, or continue a conversation with one of their colleagues?
At what point in time, or in any customer service training they’ve been given, was it ever deemed acceptable to treat customers as though they were invisible and not there at all?
This phenomenon is by no means exclusive to face to face customer service scenarios.
After talking to a new contact this week about my business, they told me the story about another invisible customer situation that they’d experienced with a local business.
The business in question hires out meeting and training room space. They had rang to book a room and got verbal confirmation of the booking, but got no subsequent written confirmation, either electronically or by post. This was the first time they’d used the venue and this lack of communication created a high level of anxiety on their part, especially when subsequent emails received no response. They finally rang the venue again to ask for firm confirmation and even this activity produced only a weak response that did’t allay their fears totally.
The booking in question was to be the first in a series of sessions that this business was running, however , this lack of communication has raised doubts in their mind about the reliability of this particular venue to deliver and so it is unlikely that they will profit from an ongoing relationship, all for the sake of the invisible customer syndrome.
How easy would it have been for this venue to send a confirmation email. To have this simple step as part of their booking process and perhaps even better, have an automatic email close to the booking date itself, to reconfirm with the customer and determine if there’s anything else they can help with in addition to the room booking alone .e.g. refreshments, flip chart, video etc?
These activities are easy to do and certainly inexpensive, but make a big difference to customers.
This is where online retailers have an advantage. They have automated their responses and keep their customers updated at every stage of their interaction from order, to dispatch and finally delivery.
Are there any situations that you can recognise in your business where your customer becomes invisible. If you do, then make a change, before your customers become someone elses’.
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When asking people to consider the question of responsibility around delivering customer service, it can be all too easy to see the delivery of customer service to be the remit of only those staff who have direct contact with customers. This is a very simplistic view of what customer service is all about.
A traditional clock serves the purpose of telling the time. However, the only element of the clock to do this is the face of the clock itself. How effective would the clock be if the cogs that turned the hands were broken, or the battery was dead?
It’s the same with customer service. The members of staff who face into the customer directly have a key role to play in the delivery of great service. They are the face of their business. However, without efficient processes and people to support those same staff in delivering to the customers needs and to support the efficient working of that business, then the overall customer service would very soon be degraded.
If you’re not already in a direct customer facing role ask yourself this question – “how do I deliver customer service?”
And I’m sure you’ll find you’re one of those all important cogs making sure your business is telling the right time!
New Chapter Learning help people who Plan, Design and Deliver all types of training with a specialism in Customer Service.
How to design and deliver great training with cake http://ow.ly/rMMSg
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