Can someone be trained to provide great customer service? That’s one of those “nature vs nurture” questions, but I think the answer is easy -- no, I don’t think you can train someone to be a top-notch customer service person.
So how do you fill your customer service positions with the right people? We think it takes a special type of person to excel in customer service, and here are some of the traits we look for:
Excelling in Customer Service
- Someone who craves human interaction
- Friendly, yet still professional
- Good in all forms of communication, whether telephone, online or in-person
- A good listener who can also understand and interpret what the customer means
- A problem solver
- Thorough and detail-oriented
- Patient and empathetic
Our customer service folks are the hub of the FrankCrum wheel – touching all parts of our company. They need to understand what a PEO is, what our departments do and how they work together. That’s a lot to learn, and probably one of our biggest training challenges.
The Importance of Customer Relations
I’ve read articles that discuss which comes first – good employee relations or good customer relations. I don’t think you can separate one from the other. If your business takes care of its employee “family,” they will take care of your customers.
Customers can’t always evaluate the quality of your operations, but they can certainly evaluate how they are treated by your staff.
We hear a lot about how technology is changing customer service, and most of us have horror stories about being put into endless telephone queues, only to finally talk to a rep who either doesn’t have the knowledge or authority to solve your problem.
But that needn’t be the case. We know that customers of all ages are gravitating toward use of more technology tools, and businesses in every industry need to adapt accordingly.
In our industry, self-help portals and platforms are important to customers who want easy access to resources. However, these tools must be supported by live, well-trained staff that is not outsourced, so they can provide the personal touch that some of your customers want and need.
Involvement in the Sales Process
One final note -- and that is the importance of involving your customer service employees as early as possible in the sales process. They provide the continuity and ongoing relationships that allow you to retain customers and refer others to your business. And those are two great ways to measure customer satisfaction.