Cross training. It’s a term that’s become popular in the health and fitness world, but it originated in the business world. There is some similarity though—cross training can make your business healthier and more fit.
Cross-training involves teaching an employee who was hired to perform one job function the skills required to perform other job functions, according to Inc. magazine’s encyclopedia of business terms.
While you can cross-train your employees across many lines, customer support is perhaps the most vital focus if you want to create an Amazon-like culture of winning with customers.
Think about the big picture. Good customer service is a quasi marketing tool that can drive extreme loyalty. Customers are actively engaging in word-of-mouth marketing over social media channels in the same way news is propagating in near real-time via Twitter. And listening, truly listening, to what your customers are saying can help you retain even the most disgruntled customers—and attract brand new ones.
So how do you go about cross-training all employees for stellar customer support? Intentionally. Here are 10 tips to get you started.7
Make customer service training part of the onboarding or orientation process of every new employee.
Outline specific customer service values in your organization. Continue to beat the drum on values like timeliness, attitude, excellence, going above and beyond.
Teach your staff to put on customer-colored glasses. So much of customer service boils down to seeing the situation through the eyes or perspective of the customer. Showing empathy—not just sympathy—is vital when customers report a mishap.
Give your employees the why behind the what. Help them understand why customer service is so vital. Study after study show that keeping a customer is easier than finding a new customer. Strong customer service drives strong customer retention.
Reward those in the organization that are demonstrating customer service excellence.
Establish “customer friendly” policies that give customers the benefit of the doubt rather than placing the burden on their shoulders to argue their case and prove your company has dropped the ball.
Continually cast vision in staff meetings about the importance of customer service to the company’s success.
Hold customer service training days once a quarter to reinforce what was taught during orientation. Consider bringing in outside customer service consultants to say what you’ve been saying in a fresh, new way.
Empower your team to solve problems for customers. Give them scenarios that show when they can make decisions and when they need approval.
It’s important to share customer feedback—for better or worse—at staff meetings so the voice of the customer is heard across your organization.