Customer service that creates happy clients isn’t rocket science but it also isn’t intuitive or easy. Listening, remaining calm and customer service training are all part of the system that helps keep happy clients loyal to your company!
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As a cleaning business owner, you understand the importance of providing exceptional customer service because your livelihood and the success of your business depend on it. But by the time you teach new employees how to clean and how to do it safely, you’ve already spent a considerable amount of time on training and you really need to get them out in the field cleaning. And besides, isn’t customer service just common sense?
This is the rationale many cleaning business owners use in order to avoid taking that extra step of training their employees on customer service. This is where you have an opportunity to differentiate your company from everyone else. You see, most cleaning companies do not train their employees on customer service. So if you can teach your employees how to create a memorable customer experience through exceptional customer service, you’ll likely stand out from your competition.
Consider this quote from Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart:
“The customer can fire everybody in the company from the chairman (CEO) on down, and he can do it simply by spending his money somewhere else. Literally everything we do, every concept perceived, every technology developed and associate employed, is directed with this one objective clearly in mind – pleasing the customer.”
What Do Customers Want?
Customers these days want more than just a clean house. They want personalized service, efficiency, reliability, quality service, and their questions answered quickly and competently. In addition, they want to be made to feel important. They need to feel that you and your employees take their concerns seriously and that if it is important to them it is important to you.
If there is a problem, they also want assurance the problem has been corrected. For customers, there is nothing worse than to complain about a problem, and then have that same problem happen again. It is your job to make sure the problem has been corrected so it doesn’t happen again, once it has been brought to your attention.
Wrong Approach vs Right Approach
One of the tools we’ve used to train our employees on how to provide exceptional customer service is illustrated in the chart below. It shows some of the common “wrong approach” responses many employees use, versus the “right approach” responses we want them to use.
The “wrong approach” response is often the result of an employee being defensive of his or her actions and reacting to the situation in a negative way. It’s important to train your employees to respond to customers in a more positive way by teaching them some of the language they should use in the “proactive, friendly approach” column.
Handling Difficult Customers
Handling difficult customers is never easy so it’s important to train your employees on how to deal with them. The first thing to remember is to remain calm. Listen carefully and let the customer talk. The three most important things to remember when dealing with difficult customers is:
- Do not get defensive
- Do not take it personally
- Do not blame others
The customer is upset with the situation, not necessarily with you, so it is your job to be empathetic to their situation and find out what they want. After listening to the customer and learning more about what they want, take responsibility for what you can do and discuss the options. If you need to get someone else involved, do it right away and explain the next steps to the customer so they know you are working on a resolution right now. It’s important to follow up with the customer to let them know what will happen next. When customers feel you have made them a priority and that you care about quick resolution, they are much more likely to remain a loyal customer.
Customer Service Training For Your Employees
There are many customer service situations that your employees may encounter while performing their job, so it’s a good idea to write down several example situations. Next, explain the right and wrong way to handle the situation, and give them specific action steps so they know exactly how to respond to the customer.
I recommend you take it a step further, and present your employees with the situation and ask them to explain how they would handle it. This is a good exercise for small groups of employees. This allows them to come up with the right solutions themselves. It also gives them more ownership over their own sense of right and wrong, and it gives you the opportunity to praise them for correct answers.
I also recommend you implement a rewards program for recognizing employees that provide exceptional service. It helps your employees become more intentional about providing consistent, outstanding service, and it gives you a way to recognize and reward exceptional employees.
Companies that make customer service training a priority have an advantage over their competitors. Customers may not always say it, but they appreciate exceptional service and show it by continuing to remain loyal, long-term customers.
Jean Hanson is Co-Founder of two cleaning industry business portals – TheJanitorialStore.com and MyHouseCleaningBiz.com. She is also an Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, and helps small business owners install marketing systems in their business.