So You’ve Hired New Customer Service Staff – Now What?
So, you’ve hired customer service staff. Well done. No doubt that process required you to advertise the vacancy, collate and assess resumes, interview one, two or a few candidates and then speak to some referees. You are probably glad that part is over as it’s time-consuming and doesn’t put any funds into your bank account.
Right about now you probably have everything including your fingers and toes crossed that your new employees will treat your customers just like you would – excellently.
For this to happen and for it to happen every day, with every customer, here’s two things you can do to maximise the time and money you have spent in your recruitment process.
1. Identify the hard and soft skills of their role.
Hard skills are what’s required to complete the technical aspects of a role. For customer service providers this could be using a cash register or computer program, answering the phone, placing orders, taking measurements, using equipment or filling out forms.
Give new staff as much practise time as possible so they can master the hard skills of their role before they commence interacting with your customers. Once they know how to do the technical aspects, it will be easier for them to concentrate on their soft skills when they are with your customers.
Soft skills of a customer service role are related to the way your staff interact with people; each other and your customers. Be clear on how you want your staff to behave and communicate face to face, over the telephone and if necessary in writing. Customers are more likely to forgive any hard skill mistakes of a new employee if the new employee has excellent soft skills.
2. Lead by example but don’t be too rigid
For a Small Business owner, finding the balance between managing, leading and training your new staff can be tough and considering the hundreds of other things you also have to do, on some days it may seem impossible.
To make it a little easier and more time efficient for you, once you have completed Step 1, show them how it’s done but then step back.
Be okay with new staff making mistakes and encourage them to come to you with new ideas or ask questions when they need help. Standing over new staff can make them even more nervous and checking up on them every 5 minutes is also a confidence breaker.
New staff will have their own ideas of what excellent service is so be very clear on how you expect them to behave in the role. Be specific. Asking a new employee to act professionally or to provide great service isn’t enough. Talk about the value of eye contact, smiling, instant greetings and seeking and using a customer’s name.
When staff can competently complete the technical aspects of their role (hard skills), they will find it much easier to focus on what really delights customers; their people skills. Customers like to do business with people they like….and guess what? So do your staff.
Use your soft skills to help your staff feel valued and respected and you will be showing them exactly how you want them to treat your customers. Nothing sells like excellent service, and nothing makes staff feel more valued and respected than a boss with great soft skills.
So go on…soften up.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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