Is your office staff ready for your customers?
Written by Culley Christensen, Visionary & Creator at The Pest Posse
I had to call my veterinarian the other day regarding concerns I had about my dog Stevie, and they had a new receptionist answering the phones. After describing the symptoms my dog was experiencing, she asked me, "What would you like to do?" I thought, "If I knew that, I would not be calling you." Because of the situation with my dog, I had to call my veterinarian again over the next few days and each time I spoke to this same person and each time she asked me this same question. I finally told her that I wouldn't be calling you if I knew what I was supposed to do with my dog. This gave me the feeling that this person was entirely unprepared, and that the leadership of this veterinary office was throwing their new employees to the wolves. This made me question if this was the appropriate office for my dog and me.
As a pest control professional for over 26 years, I have worked in small and large offices where the office staff had varying degrees of knowledge regarding our business. On numerous occasions, I have had to clean up a situation with a customer due to the lack of training that was given to the staff. I, for one, would never dream of asking a customer what they wanted me to do to take care of their pest problem. I'm the trained licensed professional who should tell them what needs to be done to control their pest problem.
We want our customers to feel comfortable and self-assured that they've made the right decision to call our company at every stage of the process. Your staff must be trained and prepared to deal with numerous situations. If you don't, you are opening your businesses up for liabilities that you would never otherwise have. I remember having to replace a lawn from grub damage at home that we were not performing grub control simply because the technician did not handle the situation correctly at the door. As owners, supervisors, and technicians, we are trying to avoid these things.
Here are ways to provide a better customer service experience for your customers.
First, you must understand your customer. Understand what their needs are and listen to them carefully. Clarifying your messaging will reduce repetitive issues and improve customer satisfaction. After all, no customer wants to be treated like a machine.
Second, providing a positive experience will encourage your customers to remain loyal to your company. A great experience makes your customers stick around, and if they are happy with your service, they will likely refer you to their neighbors, friends, colleagues, and relatives. Companies that fail to improve customer service will lose customers to their competitors. If you want to stay competitive, you must focus on customer service. This way, you will be able to retain and expand your existing customer base.
Third, empathetic listening is essential to providing great Customer Service. While customers may be frustrated, they want to be helped. Whether they're frustrated angry, or in a situation of extreme distress, be sure to listen to their perspective. Empathy is a powerful skill that can go a long way in improving your business. Customer service can't be achieved without empathy. Once you understand your customer's needs, you can provide them with solutions.
Four, train your staff not just on pest management practices but on people skills. Provide them with appropriate books to learn from or use an online training platform like Pest Posse Academy. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a great book that everyone should read annually. Set up training with your staff to read a chapter on their own and then discuss with them weekly or monthly how they used the principles in this book throughout their workdays. You will enjoy watching your staff return and report on their results by implementing these principles. Keep in mind that not all your staff may not jump on board immediately, but once they hear their coworkers getting results, they quickly will engage in the process.
Remember to make your customers the hero of your story. Politeness goes far, yet costs nothing. Put your customers first.