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Improve How Your Field Employees Interact with Customers

While many contractors invest many hours in training field technicians on mechanical and diagnostic skills, most neglect training in customer service communication skills.

Without proper customer-interaction training, you run the risk of poor service, misunderstandings and embarrassing gaffes. Your team members' interactions with customers are an important lasting impression of your firm's professionalism and culture of service. Don't assume that hiring "someone who is a people person" will result in proper and positive communications. Investing in training in "soft skills" will have a measureable impact on customer retention and willingness to refer your firm to others.

Here are four critical customer communication skills that every field employee must master if they are interacting with customers.

  • Improve self-introductions Instruct team members how to approach customers and introduce themselves. Providing business cards to foreman and technicians is a great way to facilitate interactions and to get customers comfortable with the service person.

  • Using "positive language" Positive language involves saying what you can do in a positive way, not saying what you cannot do. Front line employees need to be taught to phrase sharing information in the positive. For example, never say "we don't have a technician available". Instead, say "we can send a technician to your home on Friday."

  • Acting skills Customers can be difficult. Customers can be impatient. Part of good service is not showing stress or arguing with a client. Good field personnel will use basic acting skills to maintain a professional presence in spite of dealing with difficult customers.

  • Focus on satisfaction You'll create raving fans with your customers when your team members communicate clearly that 1) they care about getting things right, 2) they will work hard to make sure things are right, and 3) the customer's voice is essential in determining what "right" is.

    Work to educate your team to deliver "service so great, it's memorable".