Customer Service

I just wanted to have a quick chat about training. Julie Cross here, and Julie Cross is passionate about service and there are many of us that are, because we’re always being served every day, and how frustrating it is when, to me, it’s just not hard to give great service, but it still has to be taught.

There seems to be a lack or a disconnect between, sometimes, owners and staff members, of them realizing that you need to teach these young people how to give great service, ’cause sometimes it isn’t just that they’ve got a bad attitude. Sometimes it might be, but it isn’t always just because they’ve got a bad attitude or that they’re negative. It’s because nobody taught them and we assumed that they would know how to handle something.

We made an assumption that they would handle that situation, but we never actually gave them the words to use to handle that situation. The analogy that I use is, take the hairdressing industry, but it could be a mechanic, it could be in a restaurant or what have you.

You wouldn’t take a first-year apprentice on their first day starting their hairdressing career, and then when they walk in the front door on their first day say to them, “Gee, I see you’re positive and enthusiastic. “That’s fantastic, exciting, yes, gonna be great. “So you want to be a hairdresser, I heard. “Fantastic, here’s some scissors, “there’s a guy, go and see how you go!” I mean, we would never do that.

We would never say that to a first-year apprentice mechanic, say, “Oh, there’s somebody’s car, “just go and see how you go with it.” We would understand, logically, that they would have to learn the craft of cutting hair. They would have to learn the craft of fixing an engine, servicing an engine. They would have to learn the craft of cooking.

Whatever it is, there would be a process of learning before we would send them out to practice on the customers. And yet, that’s exactly what we do when it comes to service. We say, “There’s some customers, “go and answer the phone and see how you go.” or, “There’s some customers walking into the restaurant, “go and serve them and see how you go.”

What will they say if the customer says, “Exactly what time do you open?” or, “Aren’t you open, yet?” What would they say? “No, we don’t open until 11:30.” Or, would they say, “Oh, we open at 11:30 “and we’d love to see you back. “Do you want me to make a booking for you now? “No, it’s not long to wait, it’s a beautiful day, “go for a nice little stroll and pop back at 11:30 “and we’d love to look after you.”

Do you see the difference? Nobody taught them to do that. It’s like that’s gotta be learnt and practiced. In a hairdressing salon, you send a young person up to the front to clean the shelves on their first day, but who walks in the front door there, where she’s cleaning the shelves?

Clients, customers, and there’s no sign on her back saying, “Look, it’s my first day. “If you talk to me, I’ll die.” She’s gotta have learnt how, at that point, to turn around, look at the customers when they walk in, and say, “Good morning. “Welcome to the salon. “I’ll get one of our senior stylists to look after you.” We’re assuming, we’re saying it’s common sense. She should know how to do that. No, and it’s less than that, because communication happens like this now.

If they could text the customer from the back room and go, “Hi, welcome to the salon. “See you in chair five in a moment.” This has gotta be learnt. You gotta practice it, and I need to hear her say it, so I know she can say it, because how dare I assume she can say it if I’ve never heard her say it. You think, well, of course they can say it. It’s not the fact they can’t say it, It’s the confidence to be able to do it and do it well. You have to practice that.

How do you learn a haircut? You’d have to practice it, and then one day you get to work on real, live people. How do you learn how to service a car? You gotta learn and practice it on engines before you work on real live people’s engines. It’s so logical, yet we’re missing it. We’re missing it. They need to be taught. Customer service, communication, needs to be taught. It needs to be learnt, it needs to be practiced, and then it needs to be managed. We can’t just hope they’re gonna get it. That’s things like role-play.

Yes, you’ll have to role-play, people. I know the young ones, and nobody likes role-playing. I know, you say, “we’re gonna do some role-play,” and they go, “Oh, no. “Yeah,you see, “I don’t role-play, “because, you see, when I do it I get really embarrassed, “And then I start laughing “and I’m being really silly. “So, thanks for asking, but I don’t role-play.” No, you’re gonna have to role-play, because that’s how you learn how to give great service. That’s how I learnt to deliver speeches.

I would say in my mind, and think about what I’m gonna say. That’s how you get good at it. That’s how you present it. It’s no different when you’re on the stage of your work. They have to learn the lines. You’ve got a show. I’ve done that show analogy before, but you’ve got a show. Whatever your business is, it’s your show. You’ve employed some people to come and take part in your show.

When you employ them, like any good show, you know, in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, they have to learn the lines of the show so that when the curtain goes up and the audience walks in, they can get out and deliver the lines to the level of expectation that you have for your business, with the right enthusiasm and passion and tone of voice.

That is taught, it’s not caught. It’s taught, and that’s what people like I do. That’s what we do, we come in and help teach. Let us make sure that that is what we’re doing, because that is what your business deserves, your customers deserve, and your team members deserve, and you certainly deserve that success. Thanks.

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