Knowing HOW is not enough

When I became a trainer, one of my first tasks was to train all the people who were joining the company helpdesk. This training included the use of software, the process to resolve customer inquiries and of course the company culture and the customer service skills.

About two years into the job, I received a training request coming from one of the managers. She asked me to train the helpdesk advisors on Customer Service again. It seems that they were receiving a lot of complaints about the quality of the service and the conclusion had been that the agents didn’t know how to talk to the customers properly.

I was very surprised as I had trained a lot of the agents personally and had a high opinion of their skills and several of them had years of experience behind them. I wondered: “Had they forgotten it and needed a refresher? Or was my original training not effective?”

Despite my doubts, I prepared a new training, covering the points raised by the manager and went to deliver it but it certainly didn’t work as planned. I instantly faced an strong incredulous reaction from the agents asking me why the hell was I telling them things they already knew so well. My answer could be summarized by another question: “If you know it so well, why the hell are you not doing it?”

As we started going into details and an open discussion, it appeared that there were indeed a lot of things people were not doing even though they knew it was part of delivering a great customer service. Even though the knowledge was there, almost every person had developed some negative habits over time: some people avoided questions like “what else can I do for you?” in order to avoid potential extra work, others transformed the information they were passing across only telling the customers the good news and avoiding dealing with difficult situations, and a lot of people had just lost their motivation and interest for what they were doing and had settled in the routine of doing the bare minimum that avoided them getting fired.

The list went on and on, and as we kept addressing issue after issue, the mood shifted. The energy level sky-rocketed. People started to encourage each other and share their best strategies to stay motivated and deliver the best service they could.

Knowing how to deliver a good customer service was definitely not enough. You have to genuinely want to do it, have a reason for it and most importantly make it enjoyable for yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *