As odd as this may sound, most companies don’t take the time to provide professional customer service training for their employees. Here are the top five reasons they will give you (and why these reasons aren’t very good):
1. Our customer service is already very good
Perhaps, but if you don’t strive for continuous improvement, you are destined to have Bad Things happen. If your competition is working to get better while you’re standing still, you will soon fall to the back of the line. Complacency is insidious. Believing you’re the best is a great, positive attitude. Believing you can’t get any better, however, is arrogance, and will come back to haunt you.
2. We can’t afford it
There is a mountain of irrefutable evidence that tells us that you can’t afford not to do whatever it takes to ensure you’re delivering outstanding customer service. The medium and long-term repercussions of just one dissatisfied customer are greater than you might imagine. If you haven’t seen this white paper on the cost of a lost customer, this would be a good time to read it. Customer service training is an investment, not an expense, and the payoff can be huge.
3. We have too much employee turnover
The argument is, why train employees if they won’t be here in a year or two? Even if you discount the payoff that will come from a well trained and motivated staff, there is still a colossal benefit to training even temporary employees. Every time you train people on customer service, you raise the bar a little (or a lot if you do it well) for your organization. The new people who join then strive to reach the performance level of those around them.
The ultimate result is that you are not training to improve individuals, but to improve your overall environment.
Do you think that people beginning their first day working for Disney or a Four Seasons have the same set of expectations as those starting work for an organization who has never trained their staff? Not likely. Disney and Four Seasons employees walk in knowing that the standards are high, and thus begin working at a higher level almost immediately in order to fit in.
4. Our managers cover customer service in staff meetings
This might work if all good managers were also good trainers, but that just isn’t the case. There are many outstanding managers who just don’t have the competencies for being good trainers. More importantly, however, if customer service is just another line item in a monthly meeting, then there’s no way you are getting any significant return.
5. What’s the point? 6 weeks after the training, everything is forgotten
Fair enough. It is absolutely true that the impact of training begins to decay after a while. Performance levels never revert all the way back to where they were, but it can still be discouraging. That’s why it is so important that the training is memorable at the outset, then followed-up with systems, coaching and non-negotiable standards that keep performance levels high. World-Class customer service training programs will always include these elements.