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Is Your Customer Service Training Missing the Mark?

Ron Kaufman October 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

In an age when a client’s unhappy experience at a skin care facility can go viral in mere minutes, the importance of superior customer service is very evident. Sure, horrible customer service incidents involving your spa are few and far between; however, reports of exceptional service may be just as scarce. You just can’t seem to move the needle significantly in a positive direction. The problem often is that you’re trying to train your team members in customer service when you should be educating them. Training teaches employees what actions to take in specific situations. Education teaches them how to think about service in any situation and then choose the best actions to take.

Differences between training and educating result in two distinctly different types of service. “Trained” employees provide basic service. They’ll do just enough to get clients out of their hair, but they won’t make them feel very good about the spa. In fact, sometimes they’ll make the clients feel bad.

Great service is not just about following a procedure or a sequence of steps; it’s about applying their attitude and heart to proven service principles; taking the right actions at the right time to provide uplifting service so your clients and team members feel great about your skin care facility. Service education allows you to make that important distinction.

Real service education means employees learn to think and act differently in service so that their actions always create value for someone else. Service education is more than teaching employees to deliver predictable service or handle client complaints; it’s a foundation for creating a culture of uplifting service in a skin care facility.

Infusing service education into your spa’s culture is a vital process, requiring dedication from the top down and action from the bottom up. Following are a few important points to consider about service education.

Carefully select your service education leaders. These individuals should be specifically selected for their understanding, attitude and orientation to new action. This role calls for patience, clarity of thinking, commitment to uplifting service and boundless generosity in the encouragement of others. This unique role is course leader, educator, facilitator, coach, encourager, problem-solver, consultant and provocateur all in one.

Focus on long-term results. Your goal is more than short-term improvements in a few problem service areas; build a skin care facility with an internal capability to solve problems today and create great successes in the future.

Engage everyone. Service education will not take root unless everyone at your spa has dedicated themselves to this change. The ultimate goal is to create a culture that earns and retains many loyal clients while building pride and problem-solving passion in every service provider. When team members are confident that everyone is committed to this cause, they will work enthusiastically to deliver uplifting service.

Don’t expect instant change. Becoming skillful in service does not happen all at once, just as learning a new language cannot be accomplished in a single session. Service education must be frequent, repeated, reviewed and renewed for everyone on a continuous basis.

New learning happens when principles are put into action; new insights are discovered, new skills are developed, and new understanding and competencies are secured. It takes new action to uplift your service and delight the people around you. Be sure to incorporate all aspects of your service culture into your service education. Real-time data, current client comments, compliments, complaints and competitive information can all play vital roles. Keep fresh information flowing into your service education process. Keep new ideas for action flowing. Keep the energy for improvement moving and growing in all directions.

Ron Kaufman is the author of Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet. He is a premiere thought leader, educator and motivator for uplifting customer service and building service cultures in many of the world’s largest and most respected organizations. He is a columnist at Bloomberg Businessweek and the author of 14 other books on service, business and inspiration.

 

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