Employees. Does that word strike fear and trembling into your heart? Employee training, for most business owners, is the most challenging of all. Employees can make or break the bank! They have so much influence in the success of your business, especially the employees who interact directly with your customers.
It’s time to grab the bull by the horns, dive in, and step into leadership training (if you haven’t already). If you currently have consistent, ongoing trainings with your employees, congrats! You are a rare breed.
The most common frustration I hear with business owners is that employees just don’t ‘get it’.
- They don’t “get” not to be on their phone during work time.
- They don’t “get” that the customer doesn’t really want to hear about their problems when they’re casually greeting them.
- They don’t “get” how to be helpful and kind to customers and how to up sell.
They’re not going to “get it” unless you train and set up the expectations for excellence.
Jo Malone Customer Service Example
I recently went to Houston with a friend for a few days. An experience at Jo Malone London left us both nearly breathless. This woman had Customer Experience NAILED.
The area we were in was pretty posh on a Sunday afternoon and we were definitely under-dressed. I was a bit embarrassed to go into the store so casual when most everyone strolling about looked like they were going to a wedding or a fancy dinner. (Mind you, it was SUPER refreshing to see people dressed up to go out!) Here we were, dragging our Pacific Northwest casual vibe with us.
Anicea was the employee who greeted us when we walked in. She gave us her immediate attention, greeted us, smiled, and welcomed us to the store. She asked us if we were looking for anything in particular and needed some help. My friend was looking to purchase a birthday gift for her employee.
The experience she provided for us was superb. I wasn’t going to purchase something because I didn’t want to pack another heavy item into my suitcase. Surprise! I did end up purchasing something.
This excellent customer interaction resulted in a win for the business. The win for me (besides the yummy product)? I didn’t have to pack another heavy item into my suitcase. She shipped it to me, free of charge!
I’ll outline our experience in more detail in another blog. There are specific things she did that any business could do to up their Customer Experience. Stay tuned for that!
She had extensive training and ongoing support. It showed.
Employees will never “get it”, they’ll never give customers excellent experiences that result in your business growth, unless you and set up expectations, teach, and train.
Don’t take for granted that new (or seasoned) employees can read your mind or that they naturally ‘know’ customer service.
Begin employee training with these steps.
What is your company mission and purpose?
Communicate this in written form and verbally to your employees. They need to be in sync, resonate, and believe in what you do if you want them to stay on as your employee for longer than two months.
Have regular meetings.
If you don’t have consistent, regular training meetings then now is a most excellent time to begin. Are you too busy? Do you not know what to say/go over? These objections are from the management/owner side, not the employee. Part of the purpose of regularly scheduled meetings is for your staff to have an audience with you (or their supervisor).
Train customer service and the Customer Experience.
Not sure how? You don’t have to be an expert, just borrow from others. The important thing is to begin raising the awareness with your staff. If you consistently do this you’ll see the financial benefits, your reviews improve, and most likely you’ll have staff begin bringing training items to the table for you.
My Employee Example
I had a GREAT staff member, perfectly capable of making decisions and acting on them. Yet she would pepper me with, what seemed like, mundane questions whenever she’d see me. It got so bad I’d take to sneaking about so I could get my work done and not be interrupted.
(Do you know that every time you’re interrupted when you’re in project mode it can take from 10-20 minutes to get back into that productive project space? A busy business owner cannot afford to have too many of those interruptions!)
This was perplexing and I just couldn’t figure it out. Why was she asking me to make decisions about things that were clearly in her job description and that she was highly capable of doing on her own?
A light bulb came on when reading a business book. It talked about the importance for productive team meetings (who likes to meet and waste time? No one).
Everyone loves meetings, right?
Regularly scheduled meetings also serve a need for some employees. These employees need to know that there is a scheduled time where they can count on with you, their employer, to give them your full attention. The predictability of the scheduled time sets their mind at ease. They know you’ve made time for them.
I thought I might as well give it a go! It would beat my trying to become invisible at my own business. Admittedly I was a tad skeptical.
Lo and behold it worked! It worked like a charm. She saved up her questions for our weekly 10–15 minute standing pow wow and I became more productive at work sans interruptions! I sincerely hope that if you have a similar issue and you implement a short weekly meet up time that you experience the same charmed results.
Books – (paid link through Amazon Affiliates – thank you for clicking through!)
Role Play – practice makes perfect!
Use staff experiences – get their input and participation
Creating strong and robust businesses – Making a difference to your customer –
Consistently implementing small changes –
Bravo, that’s what we do together!