As a Human Resource Manager, you are tasked with attracting and hiring qualified candidates. But how do you achieve this while preserving your company culture? Your new hires come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and value systems. How can the company’s mission, values, and expectations be conveyed to them as part of your onboarding, orientation, and customer service training process?
Employee orientation typically includes introducing new employees to their managers, co-workers and teams, company products and services, as well as workplace protocols and policies. Supplementing employee orientation with an external customer service training program is a great way to introduce a new employee to the customer service values that a company aligns with.
The Importance of Defining a Customer Service Culture
As we went over in one of our favorite blogs, Customer Care Begins at Home, both internal and external customer service excellence is vital for a company to be successful and grow. When we clearly define the importance of service excellence as part of the employee orientation program across all departments and divisions, we lay the foundation for a customer service culture.
Shep Hyken, one of the main thought leaders in the customer service sector, sums it up perfectly:
“The reason an organization can deliver good or bad customer service comes down to one thing; what is happening on the inside of that organization. To sum it up in one word: culture.”
While it is not advisable to have a cookie-cutter approach to creating a customer service culture or try to clone the culture of highly successful companies such as Ritz-Carlton, Disney, or Zappos, there are some customer service best practices that a course can provide.
Customer Service Training Courses for Frontline and Entry-Level Professionals
By providing this level of training, employees are empowered with the knowledge and tools they need to provide service excellence and resolve any customer service issues autonomously. A customer service training course for frontline and entry-level professionals often covers the following topics:
- What is Excellent Service? – Trainees learn that excellent customer service involves not only meeting but surpassing a customer’s expectations. It involves a high level of care, listening, and empathy in all customer interactions.
- What is Customer-Focused Service? – Employees learn how to put their customer at the center of everything they do.
- What Do Customers Want? Learning how to be attuned to what customers want – not what we think they want – is essential if we want to provide excellent service.
- Service Recovery – It’s important to know what to do if there is a service mishap or mistake, and how to recover from it.
Training Courses for Managers and Executives
In addition to the topics outlined for customer experience representatives, employees at the manager level should also receive more advanced and comprehensive customer service training that is geared towards leaders and the challenges they face. Recommended manager-level training topics include, but are not limited to:
- Customer Service for Business Growth and Excellence – The role customer service plays in business growth and overall excellence.
- Strategic Customer Service – How to observe and analyze customer service trends to strategize ways to improve the customer experience.
- Leadership for Service Excellence – How to set an example of service excellence as a leader.
- Service Infrastructure – How to strive to infiltrate service excellence into the company’s entire infrastructure and across all divisions.
- People Management – How to manage and lead a customer-centric company and its people.
When managers have completed the training, they will be equipped with the tools needed to communicate with their team, maintain the company culture, identify “service roadblocks” that will lead to cost savings and an improvement in customer experience, and provide cohesive service excellence. Additionally, they will understand how to manage customer demands and complaints should they arise.
All in all, when a company implements a structured and dedicated customer service training program, HR and other managers can take the opportunity to discuss how the training content specifically aligns with and applies to their own company values and goals.
When employees can align with the company’s core values, have clarity on what is expected of them, and feel they have a role to play in the company’s overall success, they feel more confident, engaged, and motivated. An engaged and happy workforce translates into higher levels of customer (and employee) satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.