Specialists in sales, management and customer service training throughout Ireland.

All posts in Customer Service Training

Customer-Service 2More and more companies are offering their employees customer service training. In recent times there has been a surge in this area as companies are trying to ensure they keep as many customers as they can.

A number of years ago when the global economy was in a different state than it is today, customer care training was not high on the agenda for a number of companies. Why this was I don’t really know, I can guess that to many companies losing a customer did not have the same emphasis as there always seemed to be another customer waiting with money in their pocket to buy. In the competitive market of today where we are all trying to get market share and the loss of a customer is extremely hard to replace customer service training is a vital part of a companies armory.

With the best will in the world every company will at times lose customers, this can be from anything from people moving out of an area, people no longer having a need for the product you sell or even people dying, we all lose customers.

It is important to realise when we lose customers some of these losses will be out of our control, but many of them will be within our control. I remember reading a survey that was carried out by a company in the U.K and they found the greatest reason why customers jumped ship and went to competitors was they had felt an indifferent attitude from a staff member.

I think the interesting part of this is ‘they had felt’ you see customer perception is vital. It is not the old question of ‘is the customer always right’ it is more to do with the feeling perceived by the customer whether they are right or wrong.

Customer service training can definitely help to make staff aware of some very basic wants, needs and desires of customers. These wants needs and desires are the same for all of us, after all we are all customers. If we feel we are not greeted or wanted in a premises due to the grumpiness or indeed the lack of acknowledgement by the staff we wont use the company if there are other competitors available.

If we do are not listened to, advised or helped in a genuine friendly manner we are not happy and will move our custom. Customer service training is not rocket science we all know what we expect when we are involved in a business transaction with a supplier, but unfortunately we do not always receive it.

It is often said customer service training and serving the customer is all common sense, maybe it is but we all know common sense is not always common.


Reciept that reads Thank You Please Come AgainIn order to gain competitive advantage over your competition it is vital that your Customer Service exceeds all expectations and you provide your customers with not only what they expect but also the added bonus of what they do not expect.

In Customer Service training we demonstrate how to give the customer more than they expect through various initiatives, one of which is provided below- The After-Sales Service.

In order to gain competitive advantage over your competition it is important to invest time and effort into ensuring that your employees in the After-Sales Service department have human qualities and specialist competence. Customer Service Training is crucial in achieving this effectively.

According to a recent study, buyers have high expectations of a companies After-Sales Service, but anticipate lower performance.

The 2 most important qualities from a buyers point of view are competence and reliability. Make sure that your staff members are properly trained in their specialist areas so they can stand out and above your competitors.

If a customer has a good experience with After -Service they are likely to return for future purchases as they know that their custom is valued.

For further information on Customer Service Excellence see www.premiertraining.ie


We Love CustomersOn a recent customer service training course we spoke about the importance of each transaction you have with a customer. Some people call these transactions ‘A moment of truth’.

It is that moment when the customer either subconsciously or consciously makes a decision whether the transaction has been good, bad or indifferent. In fact it is said that every transaction you have with a customer can help or hinder the customers perception of you.

Yesterday myself and 2 colleagues went for lunch. None of us had been to this restaurant before but thought from the outside that it looked nice.

When we went into the restaurant we found a spot and sat down. There were numerous staff members yet none of them came over to greet us or give us a menu. Ten minutes later after requesting the menu twice we eventually received it. I would just like to point out that the restaurant was not busy- the staff members were huddled around the till chatting.

Myself and my colleagues actually felt that we were interrupting the staff by ordering our food. We all commented on the poor service and each of us grew frustrated. Once again I would like to highlight the fact that there were plenty of staff to serve us it was just that they could not be bothered. The staff were completely indifferent to their roles.

The truth of the matter is that in customer service, each customer transaction is vital and we must remember that each moment of truth will help or hinder the perception we have on the individual or the business.

I have to say that when we did eventually receive our food it was lovely but our whole experience was tarnished and first impressions count for everything. If I was asked tomorrow ‘where will go for lunch’? I know I would not recommend this particular restaurant and neither would my colleagues.

In a recent survey a question was asked ‘why do customers jump ship? In other words why do customers leave and go elsewhere for their goods and services. Obviously there are numerous reasons and every business will lose customers, some die, some move location, some cease trading etc. The point that interested me in this survey though, was that it stated the majority of customers jump ship because of an indifferent attitude of a member of staff.

The interesting part of this are the words indifferent attitude, it does not state rude it states indifferent, it also does not mention the skill levels of the staff it mentions the word attitude. Although customer service training is useful and beneficial to all people who work with the public, the difficulty is that on a customer service training course you can teach new skills and you can also increase knowledge, but attitude is harder to get right, as it has to start from within.

So if you are looking at ways to lose business without trying just remember, it is simple, all you have to do is show an indifferent attitude to customers and the business fall off will look after itself.

For tips and techniques on how to achieve customer service excellence see www.premiertraining.ie


I provide coaching in many aspects of business and regularly attend Board Meetings in business development. One of the key areas that comes up for debate time after time in every business type is Customer Care Training.

The big question is Do Companies want to invest time and money into training their staff in the skills of Customer Care???

Some people believe that Customer Care should be common sense and should come naturally to their staff therefore there is no requirement for training…while others believe it is essential when trying to stand out from the crowd and remain ahead of competitors and consequently training is important to ensure all employees are singing from the same hymn sheet and providing a level of service acceptable to the organization.

At the end of the day if all else is equal I believe excellent Customer Care wins out, people will buy from a company they feel comfortable doing business with and this comfort comes from their relationship with individuals within the company and how they go about their dealings.

With this in mind I thought about how to categorise Customer Care…What is Customer Care??

Although it can differ from industry to industry or business to business there is always a common thread. Normally the 4 steps involved in all customer transactions are as follows;

  1. Create & Build a Professional Image

First impressions are crucial and it is essential to make the customer feel welcome and wanted.

  1. Establish the Needs of the Customer

Questioning and listening effectively, being empathetic, summarizing, confirming and various other basic communication skills

  1. Solve the problem

This may need influencing and persuasive skills not only with the customer but also with other people you work with.

  1. “Follow Through”

Ensure all actions promised have been delivered and check customer satisfaction

Although the above may seem straightforward it is surprising how many people do not put the steps into action. Everyone can benefit from Customer Care Training as it reminds us of what we should be doing and provides a structure of how we should implement the actions. Having an action plan that all employees can follow will win and keep business time after time.

 

 

 


Reciept that reads Thank You Please Come AgainAs a trainer who offers customer service training I am always on the look out for good customer service. Unfortunately it is not always easy to find, it is often easier to find examples of poor customer service rather than good service.

Approximately 2 years ago my wife telephoned me and asked me to go into a large department type store on my way home from work and pick up a few items for her.

I am not the greatest shopper in the world but I agreed to do this and it led to me seeing what can only be described as one of the funniest episodes of customer service I have witnessed. To be honest although I say it was funny, the reason for it being funny was that it was so bad and I could not believe it.

The department store is a shop that is renowned for excellent value for money and is the kind of place that you go in to buy 1 item and because of the value often end up buying 5 or 6 items.

Anyway the long and the short of the story is that I was standing behind a lady at the checkout who was paying for her items. When the assistant on the till was ready she literally shouted ‘next’ the lady moved forward and put her basket on the counter top. The assistant without saying another word or smiling or giving any eye contact proceeded to scan the items in the basket.

When the shop assistant had scanned the items she just stated what owed without looking at the customer and without adding any other words.

The customer then said to the shop assistant ‘a please or a thank you would be nice’ in an instance the shop assistant answered ‘it’s written on your receipt‘. To be honest I could not believe what I was hearing, the customer said nothing but looked at me and although I am no expert in body language I knew she was not happy.

I know it is wrong but I did laugh as I did think it was funny, how the shop assistant was so quick to answer like that I do not know.
The shop assistant was unbelievable, only I was there and witnessed what was said I would not believe it. The amazing thing about it is that it is often said that customers leave companies because of an indifferent attitude by a member of staff and this was definitely an indifferent attitude.

I do not know who does customer service training for this department store or indeed if they even send their staff on customer service training courses. One thing is for sure if they do spend money on training this sales assistant must have been absent that day.


Poor Customer Service

Need to Improve Customer Service?

How important is attitude one of the delegates asked me on a recent customer service training course, my answer was attitude is everything. Skills and knowledge are important but if the attitude is not right, customers will sense this immediately.

We all know what it is like to deal with an individual who is in a customer service role who does not have the right attitude. Even when dealing with customer service representatives on the telephone we can sense those with a good attitude and those with a bad attitude. I always think it is amazing that you can get a sense of the other person through a phone line thousands of miles away.

When you use the telephone it does not matter whether you are short, tall fat or thin, the thing that makes us successful on the phone is a good self image and the right attitude. In fact this applies to all walks of life people who have a good attitude and positive self-image always appear to do better.

As Kenneth Blanchard states in one of his many books on management ‘people who feel good about themselves produce good results’ This is of paramount importance when dealing on the telephone with customers –if you do not believe in yourself, your company, your product and service and what you are doing, how can you expect your customers to believe in you.

Positive perceptions are vital on the telephone and remember enthusiasm is contagious, some one told me years ago it is so easy to become enthusiastic, all you have to do is act enthusiastic, I have tried this out many times and it is true, if you want to become enthusiastic just act enthusiastic—it works.

As we know our voice on the telephone is our greatest asset but it can also be our greatest liability. A voice that is dead and monotonous can create a negative state of boredom within seconds of starting the call. On the other hand a positive projection of your voice with enthusiasm portrays a belief in yourself your company and your services

I know all this is easy but how do you gain confidence and create a good self-image?

Well there are books all over every library about confidence image and self esteem and I definitely cannot give you all the answers in a short article like this. It does start with understanding and knowledge, you do need to have the knowledge of what you are doing and why you are doing it etc. You need to have sufficient knowledge of your product procedures and processes and then you need to create effective communication skills, customer service training will help to give you some of the key basic skills and practice often makes perfect

It is often said that we should think of the 3 Ps Preparation, Practice and Polish and if we can do this effectively we will definitely improve our customer service communication over the telephone.


We Love CustomersWe have all heard it before, ‘this job would be brilliant if it wasn’t for the customers’ it always amazes me when working on customer service training courses that people often feel like this.

I was working with a company recently and one of the staff stated, it’s very difficult because customers keep phoning in, every time I try and get something done a customer is looking for me.

Well although I can fully appreciate and empathize with this individual, the bottom line is that the day customers fail to contact is probably the day that they will find themselves looking for a new job. The reality is without customers we have no business and without any business we have no work..

We have to somehow get away from this attitude of a customer is an interruption of my work.

The following are useful keep in mind when we ask who is a customer:

A customer is the most important person in our business
They are not dependant on us, we are dependant on them

  • A customer is not an interruption of our work, but the purpose of it
  • A customer is not a person to match wits with or argue with
  • A customer is someone with wants and needs and we have to provide solutions which are profitable to all parties
  • A customer is a person who comes to us because he/she needs help; it is our job to provide it in a way profitable to them and to
  • A customer is not a ‘fact’ or a step in the process, he/she is a flesh and blood human being with emotions and prejudices like our own…
  • A customer is us we are all customers and we all know how we like to be treated

Every transaction with a customer is known as a moment of truth and how you deal with the customer in your transaction will either help or hinder the customers perception of you.

The reality is that if we as customer service representatives believe a customer is an interruption of our work and not the purpose of our work the chances are this will be seen by the customer.

There are a few things very important in customer service such as performance managing the expectations of the customers, following through on promises, establishing the customer needs and providing effective solutions, but in my mind the most important attribute a customer service representative needs is the correct attitude.

You can learn the skills of customer service you can gain the knowledge but you cannot really be taught attitude, that has to come from within and if the attitude is not right customer service is not the right position for you.

So remember the next time a customer interrupts your work, instead of moaning why don’t you just thank the customer for paying your wage cheque.


Exhausted Waitress

On a recent customer service training course we spoke about the importance of each transaction you have with a customer. Some people call these transactions ‘A moment of truth’.

It is that moment when the customer either subconsciously or consciously makes a decision whether the transaction has been good, indifferent or bad. In fact it is said that every transaction you have with a customer can help the customer’s perception of you or hinder the customer’s perception of you.

Yesterday I walked in to a coffee shop with 2 colleagues, this was my first time in this particular coffee shop and from a decorative point of view I felt the shop looked well and I was quite happy to sit down and order a light lunch.

At this time the waitress appeared and asked the 3 of us what we would like to order. Two of us ordered soup and the third person said ‘could I have a bagel with cheese and tomato please?’

At this point the waitress said nothing but picked up the menu and scoured through the menu, I assume to check whether the bagel could be allowed,
without saying another civil word the waitress made a slight groan looked up to the sky and went off with the order.

I immediately said to my colleagues, ‘she is not a happy bunny today’ and one of my colleagues answered ‘no she isn’t and did you notice how dirty her apron was?’ To be honest I had not noticed.

The truth of the matter is that in customer service, each customer transaction is vital and we must remember that each moment of truth will help or hinder the perception we have on the individual or the business.

We had the food and my colleague got her bagel but if I was asked tomorrow ‘where will go for lunch’? I am sure I would not be recommending this particular coffee shop.

It is interesting to also note that in a recent survey a question was asked ‘why do customers jump ship? In other words why do customers leave and go elsewhere for their goods and services. Obviously there are numerous reasons and every business will lose customers, some die, some move location, some cease trading etc. The point that interested me in this survey though, was that it stated the majority of customers jump ship because of an indifferent attitude of a member of staff.

The interesting part of this are the words indifferent attitude, it does not state rude it states indifferent, it also does not mention the skill levels of the staff it mentions the word attitude. Although customer service training is useful and beneficial to all people who work with the public, the difficulty is that on a customer service training course you can teach new skills and you can also increase knowledge, but attitude is harder to get right, as it has to start from within.

So if you are looking at ways to lose business without trying just remember, it is simple, all you have to do is show an indifferent attitude to customers and the business fall off will look after itself.


I cannot count the amount of times I have been asked as a customer service trainer “how am I going to make a difference? I am just doing my job, the management do not even notice”. Well the fact is that yes, this may be a means to an end for you until you finish writing your book or saving for a house but the truth is you are also here because you care.

I know that it can be difficult to keep upbeat and energised throughout your month, week or day but as customer service training courses will tell you it is that even though you do not know the customer, excellent customer service will make a difference in their lives for tat day, week or month. What comes around goes around.

As a customer service provider you may have a wave of different emotions throughout your workday, such as

  1. The Brush Off. When you say “sorry but that is not my problem” or “I will just put you on hold” either you take years getting back to them or forget about them. As drastic as this sounds I assure you as a customer service trainer I have seen many examples of this throughout courses.
    • It is your responsibility to respond appropriately and effectively so that they can get to where the need to be.
  2. Coldness. You find yourself saying “what do they expect anyway if they want friendly go to a cash machine”
    • There is no need to be cold. A little warmth goes a long way. Simply tell them that you have them covered and you understand. Customer service skills providers will stress to remember that this is someone’s mother, father, sister or grandparent.
  3. Condescending. You have told them straight out that you have already told them 3 times.
    • Remember that people are people and should be treated with respect s they have come to you looking for help; they are putting their trust and time in your hands. Remind them that they are more than a number on the screen.
  4. Robot Attitude. I have heard one I have heard them all.
    • Remind yourself that each call is a new person, with a new query, remember that you are some one that is there to help some one else.
  5. Rule Book. You remind the customer that you have already told them that it is not in your policy. Full stop.
    • Customer service trainers realise that dealing with policies that are beyond your control but will remind the telecommunicater not to throw the book at them but rather to what they want and why and what their benefits would be.
  6. The Run-around. You are telling the customer that this is not within your department.
    • Try to find solutions, go beyond the expected and if you have to send them to another company that’s ok too because they will respect your honesty and that you took the time to help.

Over time the cannot do attitude will leave you and your customer tires and miserable with neither of you being satisfied. Customer service training will inform you that this will leave you unhappy and stressed in the long run. The reason that you are doing this is because you care so now all you need is the necessary skills to help you develop your customer service, which will consequently allow for better satisfied, loyal customers.


Since I started in customer service training I always tell my trainees to remember to treat every customer as though they sign my pay check because as a matter of fact they do.

As a customer service skills trainer I recognise how telecare service providers are called upon to do a number of different jobs roles. Depending on your callers needs, their emotional state and their situation. I do realise that it sounds like there are a lot of factors involved in telecare service however if you know what these roles are than you will have no problem fulfilling them. These roles are;

  1. The Host. It is known in customer service that all relationships require trust and co-operation. Your role is to make customers feel welcomed. A good way to ensure this would be to have good record keeping which is even as simple as using their names and spelling them correctly. A little bit of small talk would go a long way also to allow them to realise that you are human too. If you have helped the customer then allow them to take your personal work e-mail address so that they can call you if there are any further complications.
  2. The Teacher. This is when you give the customer some instructions to enable them to mend their predicament. To do this professionally you will have to be aware of the product and facts and be consistent in knowing what they need to know. This then leads you to be able to teach the customer which consequently leads to a better formed relationship which in turn results in loyal customers.
  3. The Detective. You will take a lot of information in one day from your customers. This can overload you but always ensure to be accurate. Keep the information stored safely in a file on your desktop or in a folder in your files as this saves time when you as the detective are called to the case hen a problem arises. A great strength that customer service courses will teach you as a detective is to always get your facts straight by asking questions such as what happened, where, when and how so that you can clarify the situation. Then confirm that you have the right information. This allows the customer feel as though they have been taken into account and listened to. Once the problem is solved, case closed.
  4. The Healer. You need to reduce the customer’s distress to empower them to express. To do this you need to understand that the customer is frustrated and disappointed in your company’s service. They may have had a broken promise in which case this should be admitted and apologised for. To prevent this you need to under promise and over deliver to ensure the commitment will be followed through on.
  5. The Advocate. Many people on customer service skills courses will say that the key to effective customer service skills is to remember that you are the voice of your company as well as being the voice of the customer to the company. When representing your customer to your company you need to state boldly and clearly in writhing what the problem is as actions speak louder than words. The key is to use specific numbers to indicate the problem not broad generalization, get personal as these are people you are working with not numbers.

Through customer service training you will see that customers do not want to be dealt with or handled, they want to be helped and empowered through the problem by helpful hosts, teachers, detectives, healers and advocates.