23 Red Flag Warnings That it's Time to Get Your Employees into a Customer Service Training Program
Bruce Claver | Insightful Service | March 4, 2023
This week's question came in from Tracey S. who asked Insightful Service, "Sometimes I feel like the CEO thinks the training department is the ugly stepchild of the company. How do I convince him that training is not only critical to the success of customer retention but also the oil that keeps operations running smoothly and efficiently?"
I like that analogy, Tracey. Training is like oil that keeps operations running smoothly and efficiently. Without training, your operation will suffer breakdowns. Breakdowns such as a breakdown in communications, breakdown in customer service, breakdown in teamwork, breakdown in standard operating procedures, and the list goes on and on.
Have you ever said to yourself, "My employees don't work as a team, our customer service standards fall flat, and my employees act as if the customers are a bother?" How about this question, "Why don't we have more repeat business or more referrals?"
When customers don't return, you have a problem with attrition rate or churn. Churn or attrition rate is the percentage of customers who do not return to a business over a specific period. It is the opposite of the customer retention rate or survival rate. To learn more about churn, attrition, and retention, have a look at these two good articles on the subject, here and here.
At some point, senior leadership has to address the issue head-on by recognizing that without low attrition rates and high retention rates, your costs to acquire new customers (advertising & marketing) will continue to escalate as profit margins go down.
Marketing Costs + High Attrition = Lower Profit Margins
Put a simpler way, the less you have to advertise, the more profit or stronger budget you have. Repeat after me: "Enough is Enough" and recognize that businesses lacking strong customer retention rates, either have terrible products or terrible customer service. I get it. It can be difficult for our fragile egos to look inward and learn to recognize and accept, despite good products or our best efforts to practice good customer service, that customers just don't like us. So you have to ask yourself why this is. Why are they not returning or referring business your way? Why does the competition seem to be thriving? We have to come to terms with this reality when repeat business falls flat.
As a business leader, teaching your team the true methods of executing exceptional customer service as you know it, can be a real test of your patience, especially when you have to do it over and over and over again. You can become more and more frustrated as you struggle to get your employees to understand the concept of building relationships with customers and why it is the key to customer retention and brand loyalty. That's why a system, a consistent system of training, is the key to a successful training program. A consistent training program means a training program that trains staff consistently while training on the execution of consistent service standards.
Consistent Training Program = Consistent Service Execution = Customer Retention
Repeat customers are the true test of the success of the employee's sales aptitude, customer service skills, and commitment to overall customer service training.
There are three key hurdles a business has to overcome in order
to be successful with their customer service program and drive repeat business to brand loyalty.
1) Defining what customer service means for your specific business.
2) Training your team on how your definition is accomplished.
3) Repeat steps 1 & 2 over and over, forever.
Your repeat customers are the "low-hanging fruit" and the cheapest and best form of marketing and promotion for your business. That makes training your team on the specifics of exceptional customer service, absolutely critical.
An internal culture change that focuses squarely on the need