Dee Blick, Chartered Marketer for Kalimex, discusses how implementing basic staff training is the first step towards retaining business.
Delivering an ‘okay’ service to customers doesn’t cut it nowadays. It’s important you look upon your customers, especially repeat-purchase trade customers, as prized and cherished assets, and this means investing in staff training.
When a business owner hears the word ‘training’, they might lose interest, and this would be understandable, because training means that staff spend valuable time away from the phones and the shop floor, and it tends to eat into budgets that some businesses might not have.
However, the most effective training can be delivered in sessions that are as short as 30 minutes, and these sessions can be slotted into or even before the working day. If budgets are tight, then perhaps a trusted member of staff could deliver the training. If they are a good listener, capable of facilitating discussion and able to keep on topic, they fit the bill.
When organising or leading training, remember to include product training. This will help the team to understand what products to recommend and why. On top of this, relationship building is a key aspect of training, which will help to ensure that customers can feel the positivity throughout the team, which will keep them coming back.
Keeping abreast of the changing automotive landscape – and the array of new products and product training on offer from suppliers – can be challenging. It’s best to keep it simple. For example, nominate a team member (ideally on a rotating basis) to summarise the changes in the automotive scene, as well as the latest news that is of relevance to you and your customers.
It’s important to take advantage of free training that is offered by suppliers. For example, Kalimex recently launched the KSeal Academy for motor factors. It only takes about 10 minutes, and successful ‘graduates’ receive a certificate. The purpose of the platform is to identify the problems that K-Seal Permanent Coolant Leak Repair solves. Thousands of motor factors worldwide have boosted their knowledge and K-Seal sales through the KSeal Academy. In order to do the same, click here.
Following this, it is possible to trace problems back to their source. For example, a certain member of staff’s emails to customers are of a poor standard, and have the potential to irritate and stress a customer out. Why is this so? This staff member has not been trained in how to communicate effectively with customers and has no templates. Why? Perhaps the business owner hasn’t recognised the importance of this, and this is where the problem starts. Business owners must allocate time and resources to empower and equip team members. Templates can then be created for staff to be trained.
Impressing customers on a shoestring budget
It’s important to train the team in the importance of delivering that ‘wow’ factor. The good news is that this is easy; it’s all about the small things. A series of short training sessions should transform each member of the team into a master practitioner!
Each team member must answer:
- What service have I delivered in the last week?
- Do I really embrace the ‘wow’ mentality?
- How can I improve?
- How will I keep impressing customers on my agenda?
If a business can implement these tips, customer satisfaction and sales are set to rise. However, in order to ensure that standards don’t slip and complacency doesn’t creep in, make sure that training stays on the radar.
Having agreed these principles, gather the team for a series of 30-minute training sessions to discuss the following:
- Do we sometimes lose the human touch?
- Do customers feel out of control at times?
- Do we sometimes deliver the bare minimum of service?
- Do we help customers meet their objectives?
- Do we create situations that can stress a customer out?
- Are we leaving too much to chance?
- Are we exceeding expectations?
- As a team, how can we communicate better to deliver a great customer experience at every touch point?
Building relationships with customers
When designing a plan on how to boost customer relations, why not try to incorporate the following into your day-to-day practice?
- Understand customers’ objectives, goals and concerns at each touch point
- Ensure that every customer feels in control
- Work to eliminate stress from all customer experiences
- Leave nothing to chance
- And remember, our team is our biggest asset
The extra mile
The best little extras meet the following criteria:
- They’re instantly noticed and valued by customers
- They’re quick and easy to implement
- They cost little or nothing
- They’re implemented consistently
- They always put a smile on customers’ faces