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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

Some of my employees have good people skills, but others, don't make the connection with my customers very well. Most are good people, but they need help serving customers with a wink and a smile. What can I do to help those people be more people-friendly? Any ideas would be great.

Larry

Answer from our Guest Expert Donna Hall of The Right Answer, Customer Service Consultants

You're not alone out there, Larry, lots of biz owners have trouble getting employees to make the connection with customers. But I'll let you in on a little secret -- there's a recipe of tips that help teach employees the fine art of being "Up with People!" So, to get all your employees working off the same recipe and dishing out some hearty service, consider some of these home-grown tips.

Train By Example -- Show your staff how to be customer friendly by example--give the welcoming smile, the pleasant greeting and offer of assistance, or the helpful advice as often as possible. If they see how successful those actions are when you do it, they'll be inclined to follow-the-leader. Reinforce thru action and words how important it is to schmooz, assist, and condole customers. It's these "little things" that can add up to show your staff the secrets to service success.

Use Some Motivational Phrases -- Some people have great people skills, but they may need a little nudge to help tweak their servicing techniques. This is where motivational phrases and clips can help whip up them into shape. Get your staff to create witty and useful phrases or "proverbs" at meetings or company training sessions. Have a contest,with a tempting prize for the winner, for who can come up with the best service phrase for your company. Post your winners and entries throughout your biz, cite them in newsletters, or email them around the office. With everyone pitching in and brainstorming to help come up with just the right motivating words, you not only create teamwork and an emphasis on service, you make them more aware of the quality of their own people skills.

At my biz, The Right Answer, one of my favorite original service proverbs is, "Before your customer service department can truly be a success, everyone has to work as a close-knit crew. Blend qualifications, work together, and be consistent when you work towards your common goal; satisfying your customer with"I'm a super rep attitude!"

Regularly Test the Links on the Service Chain -- When one of your service pros does something cool for the customer, point it out. Rewarding and emphasizing people-friendly behavior will help instill in your employees' minds, "Oh, so that's what it means to jazz up service." Stroking their ego is a good thing. Employees loved to be praised -- hearing they're handling customers well and that you're impressed will motivate others as well. Everybody will be falling over backwards to win your performance approval. Your customers will sure be getting the four-star treatment!

Encourage The Buddy System -- Sometimes reps are shy or not so confident in their people skills. For those who may be a little slow to catch on, why not get that savvy service pro who's great at schmoozing to work with someone who needs a bit more help? Customers will feel as if they're getting twice the attention from your staff and feel twice as satisfied.

Let Them Own their Jobs -- Getting employees to commit to their jobs by taking ownership is also a good motivator for getting them to work at being the best service provider they can be! People work with pride when they feel as if their job is their own private company. Think of ways your company can help employees feel like part of the company family and encourage and train them in your service, people-friendly philosophy.

Keep The Training Coming -- Communicate constantly with your staff and train them as often as possible. Take time to regularly teach them all the service ins and outs of your business. Line up guest speakers on the topic of being people-friendly. Show them motivational tapes and provide books to read. Sponsor seminars, if possible, on this topic. Let them have a voice in the training. Find out what may be holding them back from grasping your concept for serving customers. Once you've heard them out, then explain the hows and whys of serving customers your way. But don't hesitate to listen to their suggestions too. The big idea can come from anybody. The most important issue is will these actions or techniques make for more happy customers?

Hope these ideas help you in your quest for more people-friendly employees!

Donna

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