Last week I helped a new Rwandan consulting firm that was organizing its first training on Customer Service.
It was a three day training course held at the Top Tower Hotel in Kigali and was attended by 15 participants from 5 different companies.
Frances Kazarwa, a participant from OCIR THE had this to say “ I never knew I will have that much to learn in just 3 days and I really wish that all Rwandans in business will undergo this course so that together we can all improve on the image of service in this country.”
We can all agree that providing good customer service is not a simple thing as it involves many people in the chain of service delivery. This starts with the receptionist who takes the order, down to the person who sells the product or the driver who delivers it.
In most cases, there are more than 3 people in this chain of service delivery. Achieving good customer service is being able to give satisfactory service throughout all the links of this chain.
Last week Janet gave us the example of this poor customer service she experience at the German Butchery at MTN Center.
The cashier didn’t greet her, didn’t offer her a smile and didn’t show that she was happy that Janet had shopped in her shop.
It is true that in the past, no one complained about this lack of good service but with today’s economic environment, good customer service is a must. Business owners need to educate their staff to be equally as concerned about customers as they themselves.
This nation-wide campaign should involve everyone and not only the 10 member committee that was appointed last month by government.
If you think you’ve got no time to train your staff for what so ever the reasons, then you are completely losing so much. Your staff needs training to be productive.
Your best products in the world are just going to stay on the shelves and get dusty if you don’t support them with customer service training for your staff who have the power to make them look “better” and “more attractive” than at the competitor.
Of course, the best trainings will be done often by you on the working field but this need to be planned and done correctly. For instance, set a day and a specific time where you and your staff will discuss on this subject without any interruption.
Better still, hire a professional trainer who will use games and other productive materials to make your staff understand the importance of good customer service and what is in it for them, the client, the company and the nation as a whole.
The adult learning principles indicate that the approach and manner in which a training is conducted are as important as the content itself.
Sitting in a class for a week with a trainer who has no practical experiences on customer service can actually slow down the learning process.
Trainings should be with less theory but lots of real life experiences adapted to the local environment of Rwanda.
Participants to my trainings usually appreciate the sessions with Jean Paul, the professional actor that I bring in to make them see and act like real customers.
Being in the customers shoes usually creates a great deal of empathy, confidence and excitement for participants.
After training, make sure you follow it up. Monitor your staff and help them put into practice what they learnt.
Assess the changes and keep correcting your staff until they adopt new and positive habits on customer service.
Take the decision today to invest in your people through effective training and this will definitely have a positive impact on your bottom line.
The writer is a customer care expert currntly working in Rwanda