You know the question well, right? Almost every check-out clerk at almost every store asks when you get to the head of the line–“Did you find everything you were looking for?”
The other day, when asked this question, I had the opportunity to do something I normally don’t do– I answered, “No.” Then I explained that the store seemed to be out of parsley, and I wasn’t able to find frozen pearl onions. In response to this honest reply, the clerk looked at me blankly and just said. “Oh…sorry.” Then she went back to completing my transaction.
On the surface, this looks like the clerk’s failure to follow up. It’s not. It’s a failure of the store’s customer service training.
And it’s a failure that has severe effects. It was annoying not to find what I wanted – but it was her unresponsive reply that will keep me from going back to that store when I need something.
Are you aware of where your organization’s customer service training might not be doing what it needs to do?
Here are three steps to a better understanding of your customer service training gaps:
1. Where are your customer touch-points? List every role in your organization that interacts with your clients or customers.
2. What assumptions has your organization made about the employees who fill those roles? Assumptions create gaps, misunderstandings, and unintended consequences. It may seem obvious to you that someone would understand how to handle a situation such as the one I described. Yet my experience – which , according to what my friends tell me, is more common than you might think – shows that front line service providers (and those who supervise them) don’t always know what to do in even the most obvious cases.
3. What behaviors do you want your employees to demonstrate, and are they aware of your expectations? Every employee should be trained to handle situations in similar ways, ways that reflect your brand values and uphold your corporate standards.
Understanding where your customer service might need improvement doesn’t require elaborate client satisfaction surveys or secret-shopper missions. It just requires you to step into a customer’s shoes so you can take an objective look at your organization’s processes from their perspective.
Recommended training resource: WAYMISH: Why Are You Making It So Hard (to give you my money) is a humorous yet eye-opening exploration of the way organizations can make it frustratingly impossible for customers who want to spend money to do so.