I’m training for a 25K this May and on my short run this morning, it hit me how similar the process of training for a 25K is to improving customer service. Three of the main points are 1) Take it slow 2) Have a plan and 3) Use the right equipment for the environment.
Take it slow – No one in their right mind registers for a race without training for it. They’d injure themselves and set themselves back further than if they’d just not started at all. It’s one step in front of the other. You ease into it. The same goes with improving the customer service you deliver to better serve your customers. You seriously can’t just jump in both feet first at full steam ahead speed and expect wonderful outcomes. When you know what you want, you ease into it and achieve one milestone, then the next, then the next. Enough steps gets you to the finish line and looking ahead to the next race.
Have a plan – When training for a race, you have a training schedule. A few short runs during the week, longer runs on the weekend that get longer and longer every week. Throw in some cross training and some speedwork and you are on your way. Improving your customer service levels is exactly the same thing. You’ve got to have a plan. It doesn’t happen successfully without one. You need to have a goal of what the ideal service experience is for your customers. That’s your goal. Then, you plan it out step by step. Start at the top with leadership. Then move on to the teams to consider every touchpoint with the customer. Look at how you greet the customer, how you interact with them, how you serve them, how your processes work for them… you get the picture. Start at the beginning and work from there. Again, one step at a time.
Use the right equipment for the environment – As you can see from the picture, it was snowing this morning. Knowing that my grace and coordination abilities are somewhat absent, I made sure that I used my Yaktrax to help me on the snow and ice. I used my earmuffs and mittens to keep my hands and ears warm. Using the right equipment for customer service means that you have to get help when you need it, use training manuals, get a CRM software if it will benefit your customers and staff. Ask your teams what they need in terms of training or delivering great service and supply them with it. Making the investment in your team, be it time and/or money, always pays off in the end when used the right way. Please don’t be an example of “Shelf Help’ where you’ve purchased training books, dvd, or consultants like myself and never followed through and left everything sitting on the shelf in your office.
Remember to take it slow, have a plan, and use the right equipment and you’ll make great strides in getting to the point of being know for the service levels you provide, regardless of your product or your price.
See you at the finish line! Let me know what some of your challenges are. I’ll be helping and cheering for you every step of the way.