The Many Faces of Customer Service
I have had many requests over the years for customer service training. We pride ourselves in our ability to tailor every training program to meet the specific needs of our clients. I spend the time needed up front during the assessment stage to ensure I clearly understand the objectives and desired outcomes from the program.
Several years ago we delivered customer service training to a local funeral home. Initially it was for the people who interacted with the families of the deceased. The pilot was so successful that they decided to roll it out company wide. This included delivering to the grave diggers. I remember calling David (the alliance partner who delivered this program) one day and he said he was on his way to visit the grave diggers to have a better understanding of their jobs and how they interact with the customers. The program was a huge success years later they have experienced sustained changes in how they interact with their customers.
I was called by an existing client who has results from a customer service survey they wanted to discuss with me. The survey results revealed that for the most part the customers were happy with the service they received. There were however, several comments made about the way the truck drivers interacted with their staff. Comments were made that the language, tone and sometimes tardiness of drivers were frustrating. I immediately connected them to David and together they designed a program that not only addressed all the concerns of their customers, it also included a number of ways to take all their customer service initiatives to a new level. When I spoke with the VP of Human Resources recently she was excited by the participation and the feedback she received. Management is committed that this level of service is maintained and they are very optimistic that the next survey will deliver much more favorable results.
Often when we think of customer service, we just think of our external customers. I have a client who was concerned about the way the employees interacted with each other, in particular the accounting department. She shared with me that she constantly got complaints from other departments on the way the accounting staff treated and reacted to the other departments. She was not sure what to do about it. I suggested she provide the members of the accounting team with customer service training from the perspective of working with internal customers. At first she wasn’t sure. I introduced her to David and he outlined what a program like this would look like and shared the success he had had in the past. She was then clear this was the way to address the issue. I spoke with her several months after the program had been delivered and she said she had received positive feedback from, both, the other employees and the members of the accounting department. Having the tools to handle the sometimes difficult conversations made all the difference.
These experiences confirm for me that everyone is in customer service, no matter what job or role in the organization.
By Cindy Stradling CPC, CSP