“How do we sustain the change?”
It’s one of the questions our clients ask a lot. Once we roll out customer service training, how do we sustain the change and ensure it doesn’t become the flavor of the year.
Yesterday, I sat with the Training Specialist of one of our long term clients. We were talking about the tail end of our 2-year contract and I asked her how everything was going. What was interesting is that this company has gone through a LOT of changes. In fact, NONE of the people who originally hired the Red Carpet team are there any longer, including the Chief Operating Officer (who took a promotion in another company.) This organization is restructuring and there is a lot of change happening. However, even through all of this change, their initial customer service training has stuck! Said my friend, “it’s completely a part of our culture. Even new managers and staff, who never met the red carpet team, use the language and we’re all aware of what amazing customer service looks like in our company!”
Now that is music to a consultant’s ears!
I asked her what made the difference.
Here are 5 Best Practices to help you Sustain the Change
- Train Everyone: We first put everyone on their team through the customer service training. Better yet, some of their employees were trained to be facilitator’s of the program. This ensures you have a core group of people who are empowered and immediately buy-in to the change you desire. It’s one of the keys to our success. It’s a big job to put all of your employees through live, interactive customer service training, but our clients have repeatedly said they see results immediately.
- Incorporate the Training Into Your Orientation: Once your current staff is trained and delivering their new behaviors on the floor, you’ve got to think about your new employees. This particular client took our advice, and created a dedicated training room at their home office. Then they incorporated the customer service training in their employee orientation. So, every new team member is introduced to the service behaviors and understands the expectations from the very beginning. (If the training is coming from RedCarpetLearning.com, then you know it’s adding an element of fun and excitement to employee orientation as well!)
- Add a dash of accountability: The expected service behaviors now become questions is the employee’s annual review. If you no longer do annual reviews, they can become points of conversation during quarterly one-on-one’s, etc. Even if you do annual reviews, your customer service basics should be a regular part of your conversations with your staff. Which brings me to….
- Communicate Consistently: In order to sustain the change, you’ve got to communicate your customer service expectations consistently and creatively. In this particular case, our client has collateral (posters, magnets, lanyards, newsletters) with their customer service message EVERYWHERE!!
- Involve More People: Because turnover (and burnout) does happen, you’ve got to ensure there are people to carry the message forward. We encourage our clients to have a group of “Site Champions” at each location and then to have a succession plan with how people rotate in and out of the responsibility. This provides more buy-in from more people, and that you sustain your service culture long term because it isn’t tied to only one person.
Whenever you embark on a mission to up-level your customer’s experience, you want something that will be sustainable and not the flavor of the year. As in this example, we’ve seen our clients accomplish that when, using these and other best practices, leadership drives the change and, at the same time, people are involved at all levels.
What are your best practices for keeping your customer service training going beyond the initial roll-out? Comment below and let us know!
Donna Cutting and the team at RedCarpetLearning.com work with organizations to help them build service cultures and create customer experience success stories. To read more about the ways we can work together to build a sustainable culture of excellent customer service, visit our website or give us a call at 800-519-0434. Don’t take our word for it! Listen to our clients!