How to Motivate Staff to Improve Their Service Skills
To keep your service skills sharp and to give your team what they need to become high performing service providers, I highly recommend you access specialist service excellence training.
There are many providers available that are ready to help you in this area. Simply google customer service training and start doing some research.
Sadly though, the idea of having to attend customer service training can leave some employees thinking, saying or doing one, some or all the following:
- “I’ve done heaps of these already, do I have to attend?”
- “There is nothing new for me to learn.”
- “I’m too busy.”
- “I/we provide great service, why do I/we have to do this?”
- Some may not tell you but will share their negative feeling with the team.
- Some may eye roll, sigh and promise to turn up, and then have a sick day.
- Others may arrive on the day, armed with a negative attitude.
All of the above are not unusual and can leave you feeling annoyed and considering if it’s worth the time, money and effort to arrange the training. If this is you, think again.
You know full well why the training is needed so rather than buckle under the negativity, consider changing how you present the training and address the pushback:
1. Change the name.
‘Customer Service Training’ doesn’t inspire everyone. Use a more inclusive and inspiring title and a more inviting and exciting way to promote the session, i.e.:
- Promote it as an event – a reward for great work, rather than training.
- Call it a ‘Service Excellence Event’ or ‘Customer Service Boot Camp’.
- Send invitations to come and listen and learn from a Service Excellence expert.
- Include in your invitation at least two things staff will gain that will make their job easier; staff are more likely to want to attend if you are solving their problems.
- Use it as an opportunity to strengthen the team and celebrate great work.
- Acknowledge individual concerns but confirm this will not be ‘the same old’training; you know that’s boring, and your business won’t pay for boring.
2. Design the session with the provider.
Many external training providers offer ‘one size fits all’ customer service training programs. Avoid these at all costs because that’s what staff expect and why they think it will be boring and they would be correct.
- Engage a provider who specialises in customer service, who seeks to learn about your team and their specific challenges.
- Engage a provider who will design and deliver content that leaves attendees feeling respected and valued.
- Make sure the provider encourages attendees to share their concerns and best practices but leave out the role plays. Customer service role plays can make staff feel anxious/awkward/false, and it’s a big reason why they will avoid attending.
- Build in time for breaks and ask the provider to encourage attendees to go outside. The chance to stop and reflect is as important as the content delivered, and if the sun is out, vitamin D helps increase positivity.
- If possible, run the event off-site; a different environment encourages different thoughts and feelings.
3. Join in the event.
Be present but take off your ‘manager hat’ and join in as a team member. Ask questions, share what you find difficult and listen to the concerns of your team. Let the person at the front of the room (your trainer/facilitator) provide the solutions and handle the tough questions. It’s your chance to confirm that customer service excellence is everyone’s responsibility, and everyone at every level can benefit from brushing up their people skills.
If you would like more ideas on how to educate and motivate your team to work together in harmony and provide consistently excellent service, check out my book, The A-Z of Service Excellence, you can download the First Chapter for free!
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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