Building the Customer Experience: Training Employees
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Building the Customer Experience: Training Employees

Building the Customer Experience: Training Employees

Customer interactions with your brand can make or break their loyalty and influence your growth and popularity. At the forefront of delivering these experiences are your employees, the face of the brand. To ensure a consistent and memorable customer experience, it's paramount to have well-established processes and systems in place for teaching, training, and retaining the skills needed to leave a lasting impression.

The Employee-Customer Connection

The customer experience is deeply intertwined with the interactions customers have with your employees. Whether it's the friendly greeting at the door, the product recommendations, or the efficient service, these interactions significantly impact how customers perceive your brand. Employees are ambassadors of your brand, and their actions can influence customers' decisions to return and recommend your brand to others.

The Importance of Tried and Proven Processes

Tried and proven processes for employee training are paramount for ensuring success and sustainability. These processes serve as the bedrock upon which your brand's customer experience is built. Consistency is a key factor, as established processes guarantee that every employee receives the same training, leading to a uniform customer experience across all locations. When customers can expect the same level of service and quality no matter where they interact with your brand, it fosters trust and reliability, enhancing the company's reputation and popularity.

Additionally, these processes contribute to efficiency by streamlining the training journey for new employees. Well-defined training programs reduce the time and resources required to bring team members up to speed, allowing them to become productive and customer-focused more quickly. Moreover, proven processes set clear expectations and standards for the quality of service and products. They provide a framework for employees to follow, ensuring that customers consistently receive a high standard of care, which, in turn, can drive customer loyalty and contribute to long-term success.

Training for Memorable Experiences

Effective training goes beyond imparting technical skills, it's about instilling a customer-centric mindset within employees. This mindset forms the bedrock of creating memorable customer experiences. During training, it's crucial to emphasize the significance of understanding and meeting customer needs. Employees should be trained to actively listen to customers, empathize with their concerns, and anticipate their preferences. By instilling these values, teams can be empowered to build strong connections with customers, leaving a lasting positive impression.

Furthermore, comprehensive product or service knowledge is vital. Employees should possess an in-depth understanding of your brand's products and services. This knowledge empowers them to confidently address customer queries and make informed recommendations, enhancing the overall customer experience. Effective communication is also paramount. Training programs should incorporate modules that cover various aspects of effective communication, including active listening, clear articulation, and empathy. These skills enable your employees to engage with customers in a meaningful way, creating interactions that resonate and contribute to the brand's growth and popularity.

“Our training is extremely hands-on, with approximately 80% done through shadowing,” says Alex Tyler, multi-unit franchisee with Goldfish Swim School. “Training is complete upon passing a scored evaluation. Also, it’s important to note that we evaluate our new team members monthly during the first six months to ensure consistency. Retention is a product of good culture combined with individual opportunity. We created a six-month road map to show new hires what they can accomplish with great performance.”

Retaining and Reinforcing Skills

Training doesn't end once employees are onboarded. It's an ongoing process that involves reinforcement and development. Here's how to ensure that employees retain and continue to improve their customer-centric skills:

  • Regular Refresher Courses: Offer periodic training sessions and refresher courses to keep employees updated on best practices and new developments.
  • Feedback and Evaluation: Implement a feedback system where employees receive constructive feedback and evaluations from both customers and supervisors. This helps identify areas for improvement.
  • Recognition and Rewards: Recognize and reward employees who consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. Positive reinforcement encourages employees to continue prioritizing customer satisfaction.
  • Continuous Improvement: Encourage a culture of continuous improvement, where employees are empowered to suggest and implement enhancements to the customer experience.

“We have found greater success hiring for attitude and training the skills versus hiring based on experience,” says Shirin Kanji, multi-unit franchisee with multiple brands. “When it comes to retaining and training, we have had our fair share of challenges, as many have in today’s labor environment. But we have worked hard to improve our benefits offering, the scope and depth of our training programs, and to provide clearly defined career paths to produce the best place to work in each of our industry segments.”

Employee training is a linchpin in delivering a memorable customer experience. Established processes ensure consistency, efficiency, and quality, while training programs instill a customer-centric focus. Retaining and reinforcing these skills through ongoing training, feedback, and recognition can lead to a company that consistently exceeds customer expectations, fostering growth and popularity in a competitive market.

Published: January 9th, 2024

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