We live in a time when customer loyalty ensures not only the quality of the product or service itself, but also the quality of the service. If this parameter in your company does not reach the desired level, then you will not waste your time reading this article. Here are 7 steps you can take to quickly improve the quality of service.
If you really want to significantly improve the quality of service, then you should not neglect such an important parameter as training your employees. Only in an ideal utopian world do all employees really know how to properly communicate with customers. What to do with it?
The practice of many companies shows that the effect of training acquired skills tends to become dull after 2-3 months, if the training was short-term. For example, the largest British company WF Electrical, which supplies electrical equipment and fittings to most of the country’s retail chains, was able to prove the high effectiveness of training. Initially, the training was conducted for 24 randomly selected sales representatives. The remaining employees (more than 90 people) made up the control group – the company did not train them at all. The results showed that in the first months of training, sales increased by 6.6%, and by the end of it – already by 9.3% compared with the control group, which did not receive training. The trend continued even after the training was suspended. But at the same time, it should be understood that the project lasted not one or two months, but a whole year! This proves that staff training should be regular and not episodic. The development of corporate service standards will help to consolidate the effect of training and motivate employees to really apply the acquired knowledge in practice, in direct communication with customers. Employees should be familiar with these standards when they begin work. Only in the event that corporate service standards are raised to the rank of official company requirements, and employees are regularly trained in them, can they really be required from employees to comply with them.
It is a convenient solution to check how effective employee training was. Mystery shoppers will also help determine if the implemented corporate standards are used in communicating with customers.
However, this is not the only function of Mystery Shopping. Many companies believe that regular audits keep employees on their toes – they try to be constantly ready for audits, so they serve each client well.
Probably, every company has come across a situation where one employee serves the client in a friendly, polite and fast way, and the other is quite the opposite. This is not at all due to inability, especially if he has already come to work in a company that is a priori service-oriented. It’s about not wanting to do it.
And the reason for the unwillingness to work qualitatively is always the same – insufficient motivation. But with the same level of pay, other ways of motivation come to the fore – free transportation to work, parking spaces, improved medical insurance, additional vacation, a place for a child in kindergarten, gifts for the holidays, etc. Perhaps the desired effect can be achieved by non-standard methods of motivation or to solve the problem from the contrary and use negative motivation. However, most companies still prefer to develop financial incentive programs, including those to improve the quality of service – and this is yielding results.
The motivational program should be attractive enough to make the employee want to stay in this job, so that he understands that he will not find such conditions with a competitor. Then your customers will be served qualitatively.
However, this raises another question – how to track which of the employees should receive bonuses and privileges, and who does not work well enough? Of course, vigilant control can be established over employees, but this is unlikely to have a positive effect on the general atmosphere in the team. Another thing is imperceptible control. It will help ensure regular Mystery Shopping. Mystery shoppers can objectively evaluate how politely an employee communicates, how quickly and efficiently the service is provided, etc.
Even the most stringent corporate service standards and the highest demands on customer service will be empty air shakes if the management team does not follow up on their requirements, does not track the change in the situation for better or worse.
To ensure quality control over the fulfillment of corporate requirements, quantitative indicators are most often used – for example, the customer satisfaction index or the results of an audit. It is also possible to introduce a regular practice of secret checks.
In world practice, this assessment method is quite common. Recently, automated systems for assessing the quality of service have appeared in banks, supermarkets, and hardware stores.
Often in stores and banks you can find special devices that offer visitors to evaluate the quality of service. However, not every client agrees to spend their time working with the device, although it takes only a few seconds. Also, this method often leads to a bias – it is dissatisfied customers who leave their feedback more often. Therefore, as a result, the device does not give a completely real picture.
A more advanced method is to use cameras with special software. They allow you to recognize the client’s reaction to the service by facial microexpressions. Such technologies allow you to analyze the reactions of the entire flow of visitors and provide more accurate quantitative data. The error will be much smaller than for the classic loyalty button.
Many companies use this software. For example, Finn Jewelry installed apps on cameras in its stores a few years ago. The software allows not only to receive data on customer satisfaction, but also to track the reaction of women to new jewelry collections. Also, the software can work as a customer counter. In general, such applications can be called universal assistants for those directors of structures who really strive to make their lives better.
Even if you perfectly “train” your first line employees – who work directly with the client, the whole effect can be spoiled by incompetent service by back office employees. This is a common problem for online stores, as well as offline stores that cooperate with legal entities.
Imagine the situation – in the call-center the client received excellent advice, the operator quickly accepted his order. But for some reason (for example, to settle questions regarding the account), he needed to call the accounting department. And there he was rude, or they didn’t explain something, or even redirected him to other numbers several times. The positive impression is spoiled and, of course, the buyer will not tell anyone anything good about such a service. Therefore, when training and developing corporate standards, one should not forget about the back-office employees – accounting, legal department, secretaries, etc. – let your company cause a wow-effect at any point of contact with customers.
Honesty is a virtue for all time, and customer relationships are no exception. If a company plans to build long-term relationships with its customers, then it should establish transparent and understandable “rules of the game” for its customers.
Refuse the project if it is not within your area of expertise. Admit your mistakes. All this indicates that you are developing, learning, becoming stronger and not chasing any money, but are a specialist in your field.
Receive an order from a corporation, and fail to fulfill obligations due to lack of resources and competence. What could be worse? The most valuable thing a company has is its good reputation, which, once lost, cannot be returned.
As you can see, these seven simple steps can be taken by any company. Together, they can give a noticeable result – you can feel it not only according to the results of a study of customer opinion, but also in material profit.