Even if your company includes a Customer Service department, the responsibility for delivering exceptional customer service should be included in every employee’s job description.
For Customer Service Week, I’m exploring the role of each department.
Yesterday the blog considered the importance of customer service to marketing success. The focus of this blog is the HR department. Whilst a HR department is typically very people orientated, their focus is on the internal team. What’s that got to do with customer service?
When recruiting for a new post, it is important to establish the selection criteria. Is it important to employ someone with extensive experience, a university degree and a full driving license? Do they need to work a 40 hour week and have a list of fascinating hobbies on their CV? In some cases, yes, but you might be surprised to know that, in companies where the focus is on customer service excellence, these aren’t always the top priorities.
Instead, employees are selected on their attitude. If your team are enthusiastic, collaborative, approachable, polite and personable, then customer service will come naturally. The other skills can be taught. A degree of flexibility in working hours or terms might also help you to attract the best personalities.
Customer Service Training
When new employees start in post, it is common for them to receive induction training. At this stage, it is important that your customer service ethos is shared. Customer service training will make them aware of relevant processes, as well as equipping them with tips on how to respond in a range of situations. No matter what their role, they will play a part in meeting customer expectations.
Whilst this induction is great, regular training updates should be provided for all employees. This reinstates the core values of the company, updates everyone on changes and why they are occurring and builds confidence and consistency across all departments.
Valuing your Employees
When employees feel valued, the delivery of customer service comes naturally. By actively seeking employee opinions, celebrating team successes and providing good development opportunities, you can improve job satisfaction across the team.
It’s also important to get to know your employees and provide them with the support they need to get through personal challenges. A little flexibility in working hours, or practical assistance could make all the difference to their ability to cope. What strategies do you have in place if you notice that someone’s behaviour is out of character?
Opportunity for a 1:1
A great way to get to know your staff is with a regular 1:1. This should be a time to provide constructive feedback. Share customer feedback, praise achievements, ask if they are facing any difficulties and agree on ways to address these.
I’ve provided 1:1 customer service training for a few companies. An individual might be progressing well in all other areas, but struggling with one aspect of their job; Confident Telephone Handling is one example. By working on an individual basis, I’ve been able to tailor the training and build both their skills and confidence. This benefits the individual, the company and the customers.
As humans, we have the resources to encourage and support others. If your HR team adopt a customer focused approach, they can put measures in place to ensure sound recruitment, training and development processes. These will contribute to the delivery of customer service excellence.