The case for training


The case for training. Admittedly we sell training products so we might be seen to have an opinion on this. As customers become ever more sophisticated and demanding about what they want, so customer service becomes more important.

We came across a quote recently from the highly influential management book from the 1980s “the One Minute Manager” by Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson.

“You really have three choices as a manager. First you can hire winners. They are hard to find and they cost money. Or second, if you can’t find a winner, you can hire someone with the potential to be a winner. Then you systematically train that person to become a winner. If you are not willing to do either of the first two (and I am continually amazed at the number of managers who won’t spend the money to hire a winner or take the time to train someone to become a winner), then there is only the third choice left – prayer.” This books comes highly recommended. It is easy to read, it is written almost as a children’s book and so you will get through it in no time at all. Amazon is a good source for this book.

Follow this link to find out more http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=one+minute+manager&sprefix=one+minute+man

The One Minute Manager - recommended by Associated Learning Systems

The One Minute Manager - recommended by Associated Learning Systems

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Developing in-house training material – customer service and telesales

Developing in-house training material for customer service and telesales is important for you and your company if you still have restricted training budgets at the moment. The temptation is to cut costs and look for increasing ways of being self-sufficient.

You recognise that training is important – perhaps MORE important than it’s ever been, but you’ve not got money to throw at it. Perhaps you’re reading this looking for some new ideas and new material.

You will therefore be using a number of different training devices to keep the team ahead of the competition, and motivated. One to one coaching is an important part of this.�
Training has become more important this year - and will remain so into 2010
Training has become more important this year – and will remain so into 2010

Also classroom training is a valuable part of the mix. You will have some training material in-house but it can be difficult constantly finding new and relevant material.

That’s why increasing numbers of people are turning to DVD and audio CDs for additional material.
Our audio CDs cover a range of topics for the development of individuals and teams : customer service, telesales, telemarketing,PR marketing and self-development. They’re all here.
You can see the full list of categories plus the latest best sellers and pack offers at   http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/
Trainers and team managers often use these CDs to either give them more material to listen to, adapt and present themselves. Alternatively you can buy them to use as learning sessions by playing sections of the CDs to the team and asking them to complete exercises about the material – specific to your industry and organisation.
For new ideas and top tips on customer service, telemarketing and telesales Associated Learning Systems is the palce to be. Buying is easy online with credit card or your PayPal account. Prices for each CD start at just £34.99 – so just one good idea will repay your investment many times over.
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Get back to customers quickly !

Katrina attended a customer service course with us in Cambridge, and has written to give us the following story. It tells of how a company needs to be responsive. It is important that you follow up by calling customers back quickly, and don’t accuse them of lying.   

We cover the importance of the customer is king on CD 2 in the set on exceptional customer service. http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=8    

Her story is as follows ; “Back in March I needed to fill up my home oil tank and so rang the company and asked for the cost of 700litres. I was told £360. I told them to go ahead & fill it up at which point they took my card details and put through the transaction.  

Two weeks later I was internet banking and I saw they had taken the money from my account for a total of £385!   I rang them and the girl kept saying that they had put in 750L like I asked. I told her to look at her notes as I have never, as yet put in 750 but always 700L. Basically she wasn’t having it and said she’d look into it on Monday and call me back.  

By 1pm on Monday I had heard nothing so I rang up. I spoke to a different person who was much more helpful and friendly. I explained that the invoice they put through the door stated £360 inc vat for 700L which is what I had asked for, but that I had since noticed further down this invoice, the delivery man had stamped it saying 750L. I then asked her what right they have to put oil in my tank that had not been ask for, take unauthorised money from my bank without my say so, and what guarantees have I got that I got that with the extra 50L that the chap hadn’t filled up a can near my oil tank for himself?  I also said that it is basically stealing and they have breached data protection (I was told this by my bank!). I told her that the oil delivery man should pay the £25 as he was not looking what he was doing.  She apologised profusely and said that as a gesture of goodwill for the mistake made, they would leave the extra oil in the tank and refund my £25.  

Had this lady not have been this understanding my bank had told me I could have taken this further through them. The first girl really was convinced I had ask for 750L even though so obviously my invoice said differently and she was not willing to look into it further. If I had not got this refund I would never have used this company again! Thankfully it turned out ok.  

This is a good story and it outlines some principles we should all stick to!�

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Customer Service – going the extra mile always impresses

This is a great tip from Laura Carr, a client in Derby. I’m always blown away by stories and personal experiences where the individual in the company goes that little bit further – and does things you never expected. That really is exceptional customer service. So take this tip and think about how you and your company can ensure you exceed customer expectations. This is one of the topics covered on our 3 customer service CDs  http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=9

Meanwhile this is what Laura submitted ;

“Hi Andrew. Once I had problems with my mobile phone – as we all have I am sure! I called the T-Mobile help line and they were trying their best to help me.  I was at work and I did not have some of the information I needed at the time, so the chap checked what time I would get home and said he would call me then.  He gave me a time slot and sure enough he stuck to it.  I received the call on my home number at the time he’d said.   I was very impressed!   The key I think here is that you should always leave the customer with a positive expectation and ensure you stick to it.”

Wise words Laura !

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Get your customer clear – don’t assume

The following tip comes from Amy Roberts who I worked with on a telesales training course earlier this year in Leicester. She wrote ;

“One tip I would suggest – At the end of the conversation repeat back what has been discussed and what both of you need to do – Then follow it up with an email, this reduces confusion and means you both know what is expected of each other.”

This is sound advice as it helps you manage customer expectations. You both need to be clear what will happen next and when. This advice applies equally to telemarketing, telesales and customer service roles. 

There will be a CD launched soon covering the basics of professional telephone behaviour, there are also 3 audio CDs on customer service http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_list.asp?Section=CUSTOMER%20SERVICE%20SKILLS

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Customers are humans – no really they are !

Matt Hazle submitted this gem “the philosophy I try to keep in mind on how I deal with customers is I try and deal with them how I would want to be dealt with myself, which I seem to remember you saying on the course. I like to deal with people on a human level but convey a certain professionalism at the same time i.e. that their order (or whatever) will be dealt with accurately and efficiently.”   I worked with Matt for 2 days on a telesales course in Leicestershire. 

It is easy to forget that your customers are human when you can’t seem them, but if you really connect with them – it will make your job a whole lot easier, because they will like you more. It’s that simple. This is one of the fundamentals of good telephone techniques and it is good selling advice. So we cover this topic on the first module on training. This is covered by the CD at this link http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=20

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Treat every customer as an individual ! They’re all different

The following tip is from Neil Fuller who I met at a telephone techniques training course recently in Manchester.   It covers the need to be aware of the need to treat everyone as an individual. We all believe we are unique and special and will respond better to others who respect this.   The highly significant subject of understanding different customer attitudes is covered in a CD available via the link below.   http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=6   Neil wrote the following after the telesales course “I remembered your name… not like me at all, must be your training !   My tip is based on personal experience is   Not that I have anything against pilots but; I am an individual and I wish to be treated as such, just because my comments are similar to the last person’s comments does not mean I am the same person. Listen to me not the autopilot.   Sady we all do it, I did it today and yesterday… I should never be allowed to fly again! ”   He’s right isn’t he ?

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Be open to your customer’s good ideas !

This is an interesting post sent to us by Mandy Dennis who I met on a recent customer service training course in Northamptonshire.   It shows how offering flexiblity in the way you deliver your customer service can pay dividends for your customers. And after all customer service excellence is what it is all about. This is what she wrote ;   “I was trying to arrange travel for my 16+ son on the school bus. I  met the reply ‘there’s no room on the bus and we are not obliged to transport him to school’ However we discussed an alternative : re-routing another bus that picked up pupils less than one mile away from our village which had capacity on it. This not only benefits my son, but also several other pupils in the village and the service provider additionally can get extra income from the paying passengers. The local council considered this and thought it was a good idea. It means an earlier pick up time, but at least he got to school and this alternative customer solution has now been running for three years.   The moral of the story :Don’t take no for an answer, suggest an alternative and be prepared to work with them to achieve the desired outcome.” Thanks to Mandy for this one.   The are a number of customer service training products on offer. There is a tips booklet availabe with a host of top tips. http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=14 These tips are all about what makes customer service excellence.    There is also a set of CDs available that cover all the 10 key areas that mark out the very best customer service providers. Follow the link below http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=17

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Customer Service is all about focus

Focus begins with being attentive.  While you’re dealing with your customer, nothing else matters.  It doesn’t matter to them and it shouldn’t matter to you.  The early stages of dealing with a customer will frequently involve you listening attentively and remember to keep the inner person quiet, and it may well also involve you asking some questions.  You use your questioning skills to fill in the gaps-to find out more about your customer and their requirements.  While you are engaged in this part of the process it is important that you have patience.  This particularly applies if you are dealing with people that perhaps are elderly or hard of hearing.  Many of my clients who work in the healthcare sector have to be particularly aware of this point.  So taking your time and getting it right and coming up with the right thing for the customer is obviously more likely to produce the best end result.  Also during this learning part of the customer service process, it is important is that you have empathy and awareness.  So think about both your situation and the customers.  Be aware of their position, their requirements and consider all the angles. Sometimes of course you may need a little lateral thinking to get to the right solution.  And while you’re doing this of course don’t display a lack of interest.  Because while you’re dealing with the customer, treat them and their issue as the most important thing in the world to you at that moment.  You will get them on side more quickly.  And while you’re considering the situation from all angles be prepared to accept the customers view.  Think through the situation from their perspective, and work hard to understand what they want and why. Again good questioning skills will help you here. We cover this valuable subject on the CD http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=8 There are 3 CDs on the subject of customer service training. Interestingly these subjects have been identified over a period of years as the most important ones by the people I train – themselves customer service professionals !

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