2 steps to a successful customer service employee induction.

So, you’ve hired staff who as part of their role, will be interacting with customers. Well done. You are probably glad that the recruitment part is over as it’s time consuming and takes you away from doing your own work. Next step, on-boarding/inducting the new recruit into your workplace. This can be a challenging time and may see you asking yourself these questions;

  • Will the successful candidate/s be able to "walk their talk?"
  • Will they work in harmony with your team?
  • Will they provide consistently excellent service to your customers? 
  • Will I have to let them go and start the process all over again?

To maximize the time and money invested in your recruitment process, include these 2 things in your induction process.

1.     Identify the hard and soft skills of the role and let them master the hard first.

Hard skills are what’s required to complete the technical aspects of a role. For front-line customer service staff this could be using a cash register or computer program, using a telephone, placing orders, taking measurements, using equipment or filling out forms. Give new staff as much practise time as possible so they can master the hard skills of their role before they commence interacting with your customers. Once they know how to do the technical aspects, it will be easier for them to concentrate on their soft skills when they are with your customers.

Soft skills of a customer service role are related to the way your staff interact with people; co-workers and customers. Be clear on how you want your staff to behave. Have standards in place for how to communicate with your customers face to face, over the telephone and in writing. Customers are more likely to forgive any hard skill mistakes of a new employee if the new employee has excellent soft skills.

2.     Lead by example but don’t be too rigid

Finding the balance between managing, leading and training your new staff can be tough and considering the hundreds of other things you have to do in a day, it may seem impossible. To make it a little easier and more time efficient for you, once you have completed Step 1, step back.

New staff will have their own ideas and natural behaviours when it comes to interacting with customers. Provide them with your customer service standards, allow them time to master the hard skills and then watch them in action before seeking to make any adjustments.

Let them be their natural selves first so you can identify and praise the good and provide the right support at the right time for any behvaioural changes needed.

Nothing sells or satisfies like excellent customer service and nothing encourages new employees to provide excellent customer service more than a workplace that has a culture of service excellence.

To confirm you have the 3 key areas covered that create a culture of service excellence in your team or your business, complete our FREE Customer Service Analysis .

By Cate Schreck Service Excellence Coach and Author of "The A-Z of Service Excellence"