It is hard to believe but the holidays are at our doorstep. And for many businesses, it is the busiest time of the year.
And with busy often comes service issues.
At busy seasons, particularly in the retail or service industry, customers become demanding and employees are challenged to provide a great experience despite very difficult circumstances.
As managers, it is our responsibility to help coach employees through those difficult situations and show them how to please a customer.
6 Tips for Coaching Great Service!
1. Know What’s Up
It is difficult to coach an employee when you do not have a clue what is going on.
Take the time to find what is going on with customers.
If you manage a call center you should know how long customers are on hold or how many rings before the phone is answered.
If you own a restaurant, you should know how long customers have to wait for a table or food order to table time.
Knowing what the customer is experiencing is important so you have the information you can share with employees.
Customer satisfaction feedback is another tool used to better understand the customer experience.
Invest the time in asking questions after the fact and use this information to help employees understand how what they do impacts the customer experience.
You can also learn a lot by simply observing employees interact with customers or listening to phone calls.
This is a great opportunity to share best practices and how an interaction could be improved.
2. Share What You Know
Chances are that you are in the position you are in because you have a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Take the time to share what you know with employees.
Talk to them about things you’ve learned along the way and secrets to communicating with angry or difficult customers.
We often forget that others don’t share our same knowledge base and could benefit from our real-life experiences.
Help employees by simply inquiring about how they interact with customers.
Get them to open up about their challenges and frustrations.
These conversations open the door for you to share insights and things you have learned along the way.
This also gives you the opportunity to reinforce your expectations for caring for customers and reiterating internal service standards.
4. Help Learn
Sometimes learning opportunities come from observing someone else doing something.
Help employees learn the proper way of doing something by allowing them to observe how you handle situations.
This is often done during the employee orientation process to a new job but is something that can be done on an ongoing basis.
The best way to teach is to instruct, demonstrate, and then observe someone practicing the skill.
5. Provide Direction
Sometimes employees find themselves in a pickle and don’t know how to get out of it.
If you have good communication with employees you will know about these situations.
Help the employee by giving them direction on how to handle a situation.
For instance, if an employee flubs up a customer interaction, give them specific instructions on how to perform service recovery and then let them watch that process work.
Let them be the hero by offering a discount, refund, or credit for the next purchase!
Dealing with customers requires training, patience, and lots of experience. Make sure you reinforce those positive customer exchanges by rewarding great service.
Use the data you collect to share best practices and to pat great employees on the back.
Also, use your raise process to compensate for great employee behaviors.
Anyone in business understands that it is the customer that pays all of our salaries.
Use coaching techniques to teach employees how to take great care of your customers and your business will be able to continue to pay salaries for yourself and all your employees!