Whether it's when they pick up their coffee on the way to work, do a few errands after their shift or take care of troubleshooting over the phone, many Americans see encounters with customer service associates as part of the daily grind. This doesn't have to be. Especially because patrons have so many interactions with businesses, it is important for an organization to not only provide excellent service but to also differentiate itself from competitors. Through high-quality customer service training, managers can spur their teams to produce memorable and positive experiences every day.
What stands out?
In an article for Inc. Magazine, Peter Gasca recalled a recent vacation during which he had a number of ho-hum customer service experiences. From talking to automated help lines to eating at restaurants where staff seemed apathetic, most of his encounters fell below his expectations. However, when he decided to use the smartphone app HotelTonight to make a last-minute hotel booking, he was wowed.
Gasca explained that not only did he get the chance to connect to a human operator, but he spoke with a woman who went above and beyond to make the call stand out. He said that she came off as unique and authentic, especially when she asked him about his trip and cracked a few jokes about the fact that he was traveling with young children. When appropriate, she mentioned offers such as a new client credit, which Gasca said he never would have known about without her help. When the employee asked if Gasca would recommend the service to others in the future, he was happy to do so.
Because of this truly memorable experience, Gasca said that it may be time for retailers to eschew heavily scripted interactions in favor of more unique ones. He explained that giving staff members the flexibility to perform with their own flair can leave a lasting impression on customers, even spurring them to lend the company word-of-mouth recommendations.
Entrepreneur similarly emphasized that this human element of customer service is what generates lasting impressions. The source noted that when workers are truly engaged with their clientele and offer small gestures that show patrons are important, value is added to the shopping experience. For instance, people may be more likely to return to a store where the sales associates set aside items they might enjoy, reach out when their favorite product is back in stock or remember other specific preferences.
Strong customer service training can make all the difference. When businesses strategize to utilize each worker's unique strengths and instill a passion for making patrons happy, shoppers will know they're getting an experience that can't be duplicated anywhere else. And that's what keeps them coming back.