If you want your customer service employees to perform consistently at a level that delights your customers, you need to set out clear expectations of what you want from your staff. One of the biggest frustrations people in the service industry regularly communicate is that they don’t know what their upper management is looking for from the service department.
By providing easy-to-understand guidelines, your employees have a clear idea of their job description, and you have a way to hold them accountable. To get you started, we have a few things every service-oriented company should expect from their customer service employees.
Base Your Expectations on Customer Needs
Before you can define expectations to your customer service employees, you must first determine what those expectations are. Service expectations are best defined by your customers, rather than your management team. Discover what your customers expect from your business in terms of customer service so you can pass those expectations onto your staff in clear terms and processes.
Define Typical Customer Encounters and How to Handle Them
The large majority of interactions with your customers may be broken down into a few general categories. These might include customers who are just beginning the shopping process for a product and have questions, those that are ready to make a purchase and those that have a complaint about their experience.
When possible, use those categories of customer experiences to specifically train staff on how to handle each one – through brainstorming sessions, role play activities and actual examples.
Provide Parameters for What Employees Can and Cannot Do
Customer service representatives often become immobilized in their ability to help customers because they are unsure of just how flexible they can be with policies and procedures to keep customers happy. Your employees need to know precisely where the parameters are in terms of helping customers, supplying additional products, handling returns or offering refunds or discounts. When employees know what they can do to help customers, they are much more likely to use all the tools at their disposal to make the customer experience a satisfying one.
Provide Tools and Ongoing Training for Your Staff
Customer service is an evolving and challenging industry, and those who work in it require ongoing training and motivation to keep up the same performance level. Training is not a one-shot deal; service employees need regular training as they come across customers and situations they are not sure how to handle. Motivation also becomes an issue to keep employees focused on their job and to keep department morale at a high level.
Reward Positive Behavior when Expectations are Met
When it comes to motivating employees, nothing works better than a reward system that recognizes outstanding performance. Whether you offer employees cash bonuses for exceptional work, or recognize their performance in front of the rest of the staff, rewards are a way to motivate both those that receive the bonus and those that see the reward in action.
Setting clear expectations for customer service representatives is the first step toward a higher level of service overall. When employees know exactly what is expected and how to get there, they are more likely to deliver the consistent, high quality service your customers are looking for.
– Meredith Estep