Editor’s note: A version of this article appeared on Shep Hyken’s blog and is adapted here with permission.
Your employees attend customer service training. They learn techniques and tactics for dealing with unhappy and angry customers — or just customers who need a little support. They are taught the correct answers to difficult questions. This, after all, is what customer service training is all about.
But what happens when something occurs outside the parameters of the training your employees have received?
While good customer service training teaches the how-to’s, great customer service training instills a customer-first mindset. And that’s more important than having a great attitude, complete with smiles and a warm personality. with a lot of smiles and a bubbly personality.
A customer-first service mindset encompasses all the how-to training, the positive attitude, and — here is where the mindset comes in — the reason behind a relentless effort to deliver an amazing customer experience. The concepts of a customer-first mindset are often intangible and intuitive. They can reference an inner drive, for example, or an ambitious spirit to take care of the customer. With that in mind, here are five strategies that will help create a customer-focused mindset throughout your organization:
- Foster a desire to take care of people. Not every employee has that mindset coming in. Even after basic customer service training, they may still not get it. Sure, they may understand the techniques to deliver service, but that doesn’t mean they get the essence. A customer-first mindset includes the desire to serve with a positive attitude.
- Be comfortable in the moment. Recognize when you deliver a positive service experience. There are certain parts of delivering service that are natural and automatic, but people must be conscious of what they are doing and always look for ways to make it better.
- Draw a line in the sand. An environment that fosters a customer focus mindset empowers people to do what is necessary to take care of the customer – without crossing the line. The boundaries are typically further out than most people think. Teach employees, by example and story, how far they can go to take care of their customers.
- Always be learning. The best of the best are continuous learners, and not just about their own products and services. They learn about competitors and industry trends, plus general knowledge about the wider world. They are interesting people to talk with and understand how to talk to customers the right way.
- Recognize the ‘awesome responsibility’ of service. At any given time, one employee — the one who your customer is interacting with –— has the responsibility to deliver an experience that aligns with your vision. This one person represents your brand and all his or her fellow employees. Does he or she deliver?