The Art of Service
Customer Service falls somewhere between art, and science. Art when it comes to delivery, as it requires empathy and a level of human understanding, and science, because the way customers respond to it, is rooted in basic human psychology.
CMX Associate, and award winning trainer, Peter Clark- Lewis shares his insight on how to use the science of human understanding to train employees to deliver the art of service....
Great customer service... We all know what it looks like, but why is it when asked to recall a time we’ve experienced it, most people can only think of one or two examples, yet when asked about poor customer service, you’ll get a whole list?
The problem is, my idea of great service might look very different to yours and is therefore difficult to articulate with any level of REAL understanding. It is entirely subjective! Being able to anticipate and predict what great service is to customers they just met for the first time, is a skill most frontline employees (and people in general) struggle with. But if that’s the case, why do many employees roll their eyes and say “but I’ve being doing this job for years, I know how to give great service” whenever you mention customer service training?
They are probably experiencing the block, of being driven to meet the mystery shopping targets imposed on them, and delivering the robotic actions that get '100%' for their unit on whatever metric you set in order to receive praise... which often, are NOT the markers of a great experience, or the things real customers want, value or appreciate.
Yes, standards are important, and often drive commercial benefits like up-sell. BUT, THEY ARE NOT what create a great experience. That comes from genuine connection, and a 'feeling' people get about the interaction they just had. The secret to great service, is empowering your employees to think for themselves and be themselves. Human, raw and empathetic to their customer needs.
This, especially in corporate environments driven by KPI's requires a mind set shift. Reminding them how it feels to be treated, treating customers as individuals rather than running through the script. Thinking about their own response to situations (good and bad) they have experienced themselves.
Changing the employees’ mind-set is the first hurdle any business must overcome; inspiring them with the higher purpose of the brand, being clear about the organisational vision, values and expected behaviours that deliver your brand promise is time well spent. And spending time on these at the start of training or induction, will help employees understand why they are there and what that means in terms of what they do. (Hint, if your vision isn't one that places customers above everything, you will never succeed).
Many companies force employees to attend service training centred on achieving targets; if you do this, your employees don't leave feeling energised and ready to encourage others to attend the course or create a CULTURE of great service. They feel like they just entered some kind of sheep dipping, to change who they are and wear a corporate logo. The question is, how do you inspire them with a purpose bigger than themselves, to be themselves, and engage them, in the most fundamental of human skills, empathy.
Customer service training for many is not about teaching them something new, but reminding them about what they already know. The basics of human psycholgy. Reading people’s emotions and feelings through reading their behaviour is something we all learnt to do at an early age. You only have to watch a five or six year old barter with their parents to get what they want to realise we are able to understand others motivations.
However this skill is forgotten, not lost, employees just need reminding that they have the ability to read people and to use this in a customer service setting to deliver a great customer experience. Once they understand this, they are empowered to tune into the power within themselves, to be themselves and deliver the WOW that comes only comes when they really give a sh%$. The stuff that helps them WANT to go above and beyond to make their customers feel great.
Ensuring that any service training is fun and interactive is key. After all, most frontline employees aren’t used to sitting in a room looking at a screen and listening to someone talk for hours on end. If you do this to them, the sheep will be dipped, but that's it. (P.s you also just wasted the cost of the hours they are there to disappoint your customers, guaranteed). They need to be up on their feet and interacting with each other, with experiential activities that bring them back to understanding how they would feel in any given situation, to trigger memories, to trigger FEELINGS and therefore create new habits.
Like I said at the start of this article, every customer is different, so is every employee. Using their own knowledge and experience to reconnect with the emotion and empathy service delivery requires is vital whenever you embark on training.
Remembering this principle in developing and delivering Customer Service training will mean you harness the science of human behaviour, to deliver the art of service.
An award winning trainer, Peter is driven by his passion for people and their personal development.
Having worked across a breadth of business sectors including hospitality, catering, healthcare, education and property, Peter's experience in the art and science of service transcends subject matter, to connect with the psychology of human interaction and deliver incredible results.
Having worked with Clare on a number of award winning projects, Peter shares the contagious enthusiasm for exceptional customer experience synonymous with CMX. His love for and dedication to Customer Service inspires delegates to feel truly inspired and 'woke' to their innate ability to WOW customers.
From frontline to board level, Peter's qualifications in psychometric tools such as DISC help employees to understand their own behavioural style at work, their natural strengths and empowers them to create value from their emotional intelligence.
Peter is fun to work with and this enables him to build rapport with everyone he meets, AND create bespoke training that makes a lasting impact, supporting delegates to arrive at their own conclusions, and leave believing in the power of customer experience.
Head to the contact page to get in touch, and see how we can help you DREAM BIG about Customer Service.