By Shep Hyken, an EO St. Louis member, and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations
Is customer service something you have to be born to do? Some would say it is a skill that can’t be taught, but while some people are more naturally inclined to it, it is possible to teach customer service.
“Hire the attitude and train the skill” – the well-known business adage can refer to customer service just as it does to technical job skills. As long as the employee has the proper mindset and a desire to learn the skills necessary to deliver amazing customer service, he or she can be trained to do so. Look beyond the natural inclination toward customer service for those who would also be willing to accept the training.
Customer service superstars are created one of two ways: either they learned from their parents, or they learned it on the job through customer service training.
Customer service basically comes down to treating other people right. If a person has been taught this basic concept by his or her parents, it only takes a minimum of training to translate it to super customer service. Others who may not have had as much guidance early in life still may understand and want to do the right thing – it will just take a bit more formal training on the job to translate the willingness into the actual skills.
Does a customer really care how the employee came to be a customer service superstar as long as he or she delivers? Whether it’s natural ability or a learned skill, the end result is what matters. So, why isn’t everyone amazing at customer service?
There are a few reasons that hold some people back:
1. They are not focused on finding opportunities.
2. They give up because they think it will take too much effort. What they don’t realize is it doesn’t take much – mostly attention to detail and little extra touches.
3. People misunderstand the meaning of “amazing” customer service. It is simply being better than average all the time.
And there are reasons that others excel at amazing service:
1. They care, and it shows in the way they perform their job, the way they treat their customers, and how they feel about their company and themselves.
2. They can strike a balance. In one respect, they understand the importance of taking care of the customers and treating them right. But, at the same time, they understand the company and its mission, values and vision. They can fulfill their job and uphold these two responsibilities simultaneously – not always an easy task to do, but they are able to find that balance.
3. When there is a problem, they find a solution. They figure out a way to solve it while keeping in mind the expectations of the customer and the company they represent. If there is a way to make everyone happy, they will find it.
4. They are proactive. They do not wait for customers to point out problems; if they see something amiss, they will try to fix it. They find opportunities to impress the customer.
5. No matter what their job, they know that customer service is their responsibility, and they are always aware of the impact that they can make. They understand that their actions can affect whether or not a customer chooses to return in the future.
6. They build up the customers’ confidence – in themselves and in the company they work for – as they excel in the service that they offer.
As I mentioned earlier in the article (and many, many times before) being amazing isn’t about delivering a “WOW!” experience every time. It is simply offering better than average service all the time. Not just some of the time; to be the best it must be better than average every time. Can you do that? Simply be better than average, every time, and you have achieved amazing.
Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more articles on customer service and business you can visit his website at www.hyken.com.
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Categories: Best Practices