I just got back from the AAMI Annual Conference where I facilitated a roundtable for people new to the industry; in their first few years on the job. We spoke openly about the successes and stumbling points experienced during their early tenure in the field.
When asked what frustrated them most, I heard things like, too much company politics, trying to deal with other employees who have more experience on the job, but may be a little stale in their approach, and one that really hit home for me; knowing how to deal with customers that I can’t help. How can you stay positive when you either don’t have what you need to help, or you really don’t know what to do?
Technical training is so important; and it seems like they can’t get enough of it! We must train our employees how to do their job, and we usually do, but are we paying enough attention to training them on their communication and customer service skills? Do they know how to diffuse a situation when a customer is frustrated or angry or do they get nervous or defensive and actually escalate the situation? Your reputation and your satisfaction scores are greatly affected by how your people interact with your customers. When put in difficult situations, new employees are uncomfortable and feel threatened. We need to empower them to deal with those situations on their own, head on. Here a few tips we passed along:
I’ve never worked on this before => Show me what’s happening when you try to use the machine. (Sometimes the customer will see the problem themselves and it’s solved!)
I don’t know the answer => Restate what you think they are asking and then say something like, “Let me just check a few things and I will get right back to you with a solution or an answer. Then ask for help back in the department, or consult the manual, but don’t let the customer see you looking on the internet. You are supposed to be the expert.
Teach them to speak in Customer Focused Language. The customer is looking for a solution, so let them know you are going to get them there, even if it is not you who ultimately gets back to them. Think about what is important to the customer.
A few tips like this can go a long way for someone new in the industry or new to dealing with customers. What other gems can you pass along from your experiences?
Thoughts…….. Contact me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com
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