If this sounds mean, well, its kind of supposed to. No wonder so many people collectively groan when told they have to go to another “training seminar.” They have this preconceived notion that the seminar is going to be something they have heard a thousand times...and it often is, isn’t it?
“Hey Abby, did you know that customer service is really important?”
(Dripping with sarcasm.)
Friend: “No, I had never thought that before!”
(Dripping with even more sarcasm.)
What’s even better is when we sprinkle on overused business terms or phrases like “empower” or “synergy” or “think outside of the box!” How many times have you heard “low hanging fruit” or “thought leadership” used in some type of workshop?
Here is a challenge for you, try and use the most overused buzzphrases in one sentence! “As a thought leader, I believe that your people can reach the low hanging fruit of success when your teams have synergy and when you empower them to think outside of the box.” Okay, I am off that soapbox now.
In my experience many of your people know the “what.” In other words, your people know that good customer service is better than bad. They know that more sales are better than fewer. They know that following-up is something they should do.
Kind of how we know that eating Cheetos for dinner, washed down with a Mountain Dew every night is not so good. It's similar to how we know that eating fruit is better for us than those Girl Scout cookies that seem to attack us from every side. I know that oatmeal is a healthier choice than bacon..but I keep wanting to choose bacon instead.
But even if your people know the “what” they don’t always know the “how.” And that is where leaders need to step in and realize these things:
Training isn’t simply telling people what they have to do, like... “You need to close with every customer!” or “You need to improve your closing ratio.”
Training is the process of giving your people the tools and techniques to be able to successfully do what they have to do.
What does good customer service look like? Sound like? Feel like? What are the ways that associates can take control on the phone? What are effective closing phrases for them to consider? How do they book appointments?
When I first got started in the property management industry I wasn't great on the phone. Oh, I was friendly and enthusiastic-but I wasn’t consistently good at getting the information I needed or in making appointments. So, I was told by my managers that the phone was important and my phone conversion ratio needed to improve.
I knew this. I just didn’t know how to do it.
Move Past the Obvious
When developing your associates I encourage you to move past the obvious! Sure, identify the core expectations that you expect your associates to follow; but once that is done spend more time educating, encouraging and equipping your people to live out those core expectations, rather than just telling them again and again that they need to do them.
So when the urge to eat an entire box of Girl Scout cookies strikes, people don’t just need to be told not to eat them; they need to be told how to resist the temptation and what to do instead.
Speaking of which, those cookies sure are delicious though, aren’t they? I guess I better have a baby carrot or two...