Tag Archives: Customer Service

Customer service skills for every employee

Customer Service Tips

There are a few customer service skills that every business and employee needs to master to succeed and to avoid any customer service train-wreck and lose customers.

No matter what contact you have with customers, whether it is over the phone, face-to-face, in a shop, or in an office, good customer service skills is essential. The main benefit of good customer service is a happy customer who will likely return and/or tell others about the excellent experience they had in their dealings with your company. Word of mouth recommendation are the best form of free marketing a company wish for and extremely valuable.

Here are few customer service resolutions for any business and employee to adopt:

Hire better – No business can provide good customer service without hiring the right employees.
Improve employee training – The service an employee provides is only as good as the training they receive.
Greet customers with a smile – Be aware of your body language and always greet your customers with a smile.
Be patient – Always be patient with customers who are trying to reach out for support when they are confused and frustrated.
Customer proximity – Always stay visible and available to your customers but don’t hover and infringe on their space.
Empower employees – It is important for employees to feel that they are empowered to solve problems and ratify their customers without worrying about a manager looking over their shoulder.
Be proactive – Always be proactive and ask how you may be of service but don’t overdo it.
Use appropriate greetings – Be sure to use age-appropriate greeting and avoid referring to older customers and women as ‘guys’.
Let your customers talk – Never interrupt your customers even if they are angry and expressing their feelings. Wait for them to finish and release their frustrations and calm down.
Use clear communication skills – Always deal with the problem at hand without going into your life history.
Know your product or service – Makes sure that you are an expert about your product and services, and if you don’t know something don’t be afraid to seek assistance to answer any customer questions. The best forward-facing employees in your company will work on having a deep knowledge of how your product works.
Use the correct tone – Don’t smile, laugh or mock upset customers. Convey empathy with a soft tone.
Greet your customers correctly – The way you greet a customer is the first impression and interaction and far more memorable. Use an appropriate greeting to make your customer feel welcome.
Listen to your customer – If you don’t listen to your customer then you will not be able to help them effectively and meet their needs. The ability to really listen to customers is so crucial for providing great service for a number of reasons.
Never avoid customers – Never turn away, walk away, start a phone conversation, or hide behind a counter when a customer approaches.
Treat customers equally – Remember that all customers deserve the same attention regardless of their age or appearance.
Leave you cellphone in your bag – Make all personal calls on your break and never around customers.
Monitor customer body language – Learn to read body language and be aware if a customers requires your assistance.


Old School Ways Can’t Win Today’s Talent War

HR and Technology

Think about the talent contests that are so popular on TV these days. In those shows, individuals vie for the privilege of winning over an elite panel of experts. This is not the real world that we live in.

In the real world, organizations are vying for talent that’s all too scarce and growing scarcer. Why? Demographics are shifting; automation is eliminating most rote tasks, allowing people to do more of what they’re best at; and organizations are looking to expand globally while maintaining the same high standards they established at home. Doing that requires technology that provides managers with modern and holistic tools.

“The two most important applications inside of a modern enterprise are HCM [human capital management] and customer service, because it’s all about taking care of people—taking care of your employees who in turn take care of your customers,” said Larry Ellison, executive chairman of Oracle, during a keynote address at Oracle CloudWorld 2014.

Let’s be frank, If you can’t compete for talent, you’re probably not going to be able to compete for much of anything at all.

From a corporate perspective, we expect HCM tools to enable employees to communicate more clearly and more quickly with their managers and with the company at large, and to make it easier for the company to communicate with its employees.

“From a strategic perspective,” says Tim Jennings, chief research officer at IT consultancy Ovum IT, “I feel companies are prioritizing the recruitment, management, and optimization of their workforce as their most critical business capability, and understanding that they can apply a data-driven scientific approach, enabled by powerful new software tools.”

As Ellison put it during his keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2014: “There’s got to be a graceful, easy, efficient way for two-way communication between employee and company and company and employee. That’s social HCM. Employees have to be able to organize into groups and collaborate. That’s social HCM. And the twenty-first century HCM is something we think we excel at because we’re good at not only payroll, benefits, those kinds of things, but we have all of the social tools that allow us to enable this particular suite of applications, to be more than twentieth-century HCM on premise, [but] to be social HCM, in the cloud.”

Social also implies mobile and cloud. Winning organizations are increasingly putting information, decision-making tools, and HR apps in the hands of people who work outside headquarters—whether in the field or from home offices.


Social media helping customers deal with complaints far quicker

Social Media


A recent experiment undertaken by a BBC TV programme to test if businesses response quicker to customer complaint via Twitter and other social media networks as compared to those customers who lodge complaints via email.

The basis of the experiment was that five different companies were contacted via Twitter and email detailing the same consumer complaint. The results showed that social media is a far more effective tool to handle consumer complaints. All five companies responded personally  to the tweets that were posted.

The fastest response time to the tweets was 3 minutes, whilst the slowest was 1 hour 10 minutes. When it came to the email complaints, only one of the five companies responded and that took over 24 hours.

According to numerous social media experts the realists of this simple test were not very surprising. The reasons given for the quicker responses was that companies respond quicker and feel obliged to respond when complaints are discussed in a public forum. Complaints via public forums has enormous effect because it is a public forum as compared to email and personal phone calls which are private. A tweet or Facebook post are out there for the world to see. Therefore the company need to respond to protect their  brand and image.

At the same time, experts agree that complaining via social media network does not always solve the issue or guaranteed to fix the problem. Consumers should be aware that even though you might get a response quicker when using social networks to air your views, this does not necessarily mean that your complaint will be evolved quicker.

There have been cases whereby social media has in fact been successful and forced companies to deal with disgruntled customers far quicker. There is a reported case where a British Airways customers paid to get his complaint promoted on Twitter in order to reach a wider audience. the customer was angry and fed up with British Airways for the way they were handling the issue of lost luggage. The customers paid complaint read as follows, ” Don’t fly @BritishAirways. Their customers service is horrendous”.

British Airways responded almost immediately stating that they would like to apologies to the customers for the inconvenience caused and that they have been in contact with the customer and will deliver the bag the following day.

There is also the case where a customer posted a picture of a bill on Facebook which received from Virgin Media for a late payment sent to the individual’s father in-law, who was deceased. The bill that was sent also included a late penalty fee. This post was shared more that 53,000 times and forced an apology from the company to the family.

In the end of the day, social media is a powerful tool to deal customer complaints and grudges and is forcing businesses to act far more quickly to protect their brand and image.


How Valuable is Training to Your Business


Have you identified the areas in your workforce that are in need of training? Do you know the value of ongoing training for your staff?

Besides the obvious benefits, like more efficient and productive staff, there are also other spin-off benefits for both your business and your workforce when you invest in training.


How is ongoing training good for your business?


Training your staff invariably leads to a better performing business with improved levels of customer care, better  figures and smoother internal communications.

Besides better results, however, training your staff, even one at a time, can have profound effects on your business. Take for example a manager who attends a Management workshop and is then able to instill better working practices in his or her staff…

This not only applies to management training but indeed for all. When investing in training you should also consider the knock-on effects it will have on employees who work with the individual who has been trained, as the skills acquired tend to filter down to these individuals as well.

It also benefits businesses to invest in training in South Africa as they are able to claim back from their Skills Development Levy (which all working South Africans contribute to), defraying much if not all of the initial investment in training. (for more info on SDLs CLICK HERE. *Please see the note at the end of this article about accredited training providers).


How is ongoing training good for your staff?


Giving new skills to your staff through training not only increases the quality of their contribution to the organisation but also increases their own levels of confidence and self-esteem.

Training can also lead to better staff retention as employees feel that since you’re investing in training for them they must be worth something to the company, and they are also given the opportunity to grow and advance into new positions within the business, e.g. supervisory/management positions.
Staff Training is a South African soft skills training company.


For info on any of our +30 one- and two-day workshops CLICK HERE


*Note: There is a belief that employers can only claim their levies back when making use of accredited providers. This is not entirely correct. In the Government Gazette (No.20865 of 7 February 2000) it is made clear that the Skills Development Levies Act provides for recovery of the levy payment based on the submission of Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs), Workplace Skills Implementation Plans (WSIPs) and the submission of the names of skills development facilitators (SDFs), not on the basis of making use of accredited providers and NQF-aligned learning programmes.


The benefits of registering for a Hospitality Management Program

Those individuals that enjoy working with people and who would like to embark on a profession making travel a genuine pleasure can sign up for a hospitality management program. The hospitality field comprises all sorts of amenities, covering anything from major hotels and antiquated bed and breakfasts to resorts and casinos, anything that can make guests feel relaxed.

The vast majority of individuals employed in this industry possess a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, and graduates who would like to progress rapidly within their career carry on with a Master’s degree in Hospitality management. Despite the fact that a higher education is not required, individuals who hold a Master’s degree experience an advantage given that they will often have a background in business operation along with carrying out supervisory roles. Consequently, their additional education and learning in addition to experience more often than not results in better-paying positions.


Hospitality management programs are readily available all over the country at legitimate technical schools, community colleges, career colleges, colleges and universities and even online. The degree programs which range from certificate to master’s degree make it possible for individuals to select an area to focus on to enable them to boost their earning potentials in the foreseeable future, and this includes having significantly more opportunities to work in a variety of settings such as casinos, spas, catering, and resorts.

Certificate programs, along with associates degree programs, can provide individuals an excellent basis for commencing a career in the field of Hospitality Management. You can choose from courses that include appropriate computer programs, hotel maintenance, front office procedures, housekeeping, tourism sales, accounting, and leadership.

A bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management is of interest to those people who would like to enjoy a prosperous career in this field. And students typically carry on with a bachelor’s degree in a college or university which is able to provide you with a good all round background in a variety of skills essential for a secure career in hotel and travel management.


In most cases, the syllabus for this degree can be split into two categories, namely general business management and hospitality-specific topics. Lessons within general business management include things like accounting, management, marketing human resources, and communication. Courses within the 2nd category tend to be more specialised and unique, frequently focusing on hospitality law and ethics, food service, and public relations for hotels.

This specific mix of courses is a result of the very nature of the job. Being a diverse industry, a hospitality management program provides a broad range of opportunities. Whilst there will probably be jobs within this field that happen to be somewhat routine for instance managing hotels and their employees, a handful of positions are significantly more specific. By way of example, a hospitality manager could possibly be in charge of managing the marketing department of a large hotel chain or even more specifically the staff catering at a bed and breakfast.

Various other jobs could possibly be those associated with front desk customer service, banquet services, housekeeping, or security. Those involved with large hospitality chains end up finding themselves in an environment where there a wide range of opportunities in addition to providing them with a considerably better odds of advancing in their careers.


One of the primary underlying factors that attracts many people to hospitality management is the working hours. Generally speaking, this is not a 9-to-5 schedule. Staff often work not merely during night shifts but additionally on weekends. Individuals should at the same time be ready to work extended hours during special events. Having said that, the profession also comes with a considerable amount of bonuses. It gives you much better options available for meeting many people and living an extremely active lifestyle.

Generally speaking, job opportunities are estimated to grow in the field of hospitality management. Careers in this field can include managerial and corporate administration positions. To take advantage of this favorable market, interested individuals will need to begin preparing simply by signing up for a hospitality management program. Always check the credentials of any school and make certain that they are accredited simply because this will provide a higher value in the job market. Schools offering career placement services will also be an excellent choice simply because they will give students a better chance of landing a job immediately after they graduate.


To view Hospitality Management Courses – click here


Source: Andy West