Effective Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is essential for any business that wants to succeed and grow. How a company treats its customers and handles issues that arise, can make or break its reputation. Here are some tips for delivering effective customer service and creating happy, loyal customers.

Know Your Customers

Get to know your target audience and understand their needs and preferences. This allows you to anticipate what they will expect from your business. Create customer personas to represent different segments and tailor your products, services, and interactions accordingly.

Set Clear Expectations

Open communication is a great way to set expectations for both customers and members of your team. This will help to build trust between a company and a customer and keeps them satisfied with the service you will be providing.

Listen Actively

When engaging with customers, demonstrate that you are listening closely to understand their unique situation and needs. Avoid interruptions, ask clarifying questions if needed, and reflect back what you are hearing to show your comprehension. Active listening builds trust and stronger relationships.

Show Empathy

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes when difficulties arise. Recognise their frustration and be empathetic to their concerns. Apologise sincerely for any inconvenience or issue they are experiencing and give clear instruction on how you are going to deal with the issue. Customers want to feel understood and valued.

Take Ownership

Don’t pass customers off when problems occur. Take personal responsibility for resolving issues promptly and keeping the customer satisfied. Follow up afterward to proactively check if they need anything else to completely address the situation.

Empower Employees

Ensure all employees are trained, supported and empowered to deliver excellent service. Create a culture focused on the customer where representatives have authority to resolve issues using good judgment without jumping through hoops.

Listen to Feedback

Actively seek out and listen to customer opinions through surveys, reviews and direct outreach. Take feedback seriously and address any areas needing improvement.

Delivering excellent customer experiences requires an organisation-wide commitment with support from the top-down. With proper training, tools and empowerment of staff, your company can build a reputation for service that keeps customers coming back again and again.

Futureproof Training can help support your business with all the above through our Developing Customer Service Excellence Course. Please contact us for more information at info@futureproof-training.co.uk

Does a New Year always mean a New You – Resilience in the Workplace

As the New Year begins and we make those reoccurring resolutions to take better care of ourselves, how do we make sure these last longer than the third week of January.

Building resilience at work takes practice, time and self-reflection to make it more of a personal endeavour rather than a work-based task. In its simplest form, resilience means having the capacity to recover after facing challenges and barriers. Resilience at work can include dealing successfully with stress, setbacks, and disappointments. Being resilient can improve your performance and help you achieve success in a variety of professional situations.

There are a few things which you can do personally to help build on your professional resilience.

  • Manage your emotions – if things get stressful, take a moment to calm down and find ways to effectively manage your emotions.
  • Try and be flexible – Be ready to take a new route or be able to adapt to change.
  • Believe in yourself – Mind motivation can help to complete tasks and build your confidence.
  • Make use of what you have – Remain resourceful and seek solutions.
  • Embrace change – Take change as an opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Create opportunities – You will learn more about yourself moving forward and building on the positives.
  • View feedback as a learning opportunity – Take criticism with grace and move forward.

Some of the above could be easier said than done, but as a supportive employer, you can help build and maintain resilience within your workplace.

Employers and people managers should understand their employees needs and concerns in order to keep people feeling supported and motivated. They should be able to identify what some of the workplace stresses are within their environment. Being observant and holding regular line manager check ins with colleagues sounds small but goes a long way. For those individuals who are not keen on opening up, anonymous satisfaction/feedback surveys can be a useful way forward in some circumstances.

A resilient workplace requires leadership buy-in as employees are more likely to participate in resilience programmes when the organisation’s leaders are involved, as it shows that are committed to their personal wellbeing. However, we cannot forget that managers are their own individuals dealing with their own day-to-day stresses. They themselves will need to know what their responsibility is whilst at the same time feeling reassured themselves.

At Futureproof we have recognised that when it comes to resilience in the workplace a one size fits all approach is not the most impactful way forward so we have developed our resilience workshops to focus on the Employee and the Manager so that support can be tailored around responsibility. Learn more by clicking here:

Developing Resilience for Managers

Developing Resilience for Employees

Alternatively, you can get in touch via info@futureproof-training.co.uk.

Transitioning away from Showy Sales

Working in sales or account management can be a daunting task. Finding the right person for the role is even more difficult. That is why it becomes hard for companies to recruit highly productive salespeople. A common misconception about sales is that you need to be an outgoing extrovert in order to be successful. The reality is different, and plenty of introverted people are wildly successful in sales, often because they are excellent listeners and are able to build trust with their prospects.

Multiple studies have shown that there are no inherent personality traits that can predict whether somebody will be successful in sales or not. Therefore, any type of person can make a great living, as long as they’re willing to work for it.

Looking at some of the key traits of what makes a successful salesperson, identifies that there are basic skills that are not overly complicated but vital to building relationships with customers.

  • Optimism – An individual has the persistence to handle rejection and not consider this as an act of failure but an opportunity to develop new approaches and techniques.
  • Empathy and Ability to Listen – You will need to have patience to listen to the needs of the prospective customer this will aid the relationship and give the customer the confidence that you will find the solution.
  • Responsibility and Discipline – Always be ready for calls, demo’s, or meetings with clients. Good salespeople don’t wait until the last minute, instead, they are prepared beforehand to serve the clients. They will follow up with the clients constantly and strive hard to make a personal relationship with them.
  • Being Active – Proactivity is key, sometimes a good salesperson will go one step further than prepping for a meeting, they will be looking at the bigger picture and looking on how to plan their whole day, week or even month in order to provide effective sales.
  • Ready to Learn – Constantly driving for growth of the company and not just themselves as an individual. Knowledge is power, a good salesperson makes sure he has gained the right knowledge related to his product and industry so that he can easily keep the conversation going.
  • Charismatic – A charming and positive personality can help when attracting potential customers and grabbing attention. Not only this, but a salesperson should also have ample confidence to convince his customers to buy the product or service. They should know how to talk to a client and show unwavering commitment.

Here at Futureproof, the above characteristics often underpin many of our sales and account management training courses and programmes, particularly our Trusted Advisor workshop. Gone are the days of cold calling, a Trusted Advisor is someone who works collaboratively with their clients as a strategic partner providing advice and guidance which is tailored to the needs and objectives of their customer.

Our “The Role of the Trusted Advisor – Modern Day Selling” workshop is aimed at sales professionals and business consultants who want to learn how to develop stronger relationships with clients and make the transition from being a supplier of services or products to becoming a trusted advisor to add real value to client’s businesses.

Contact us about this and other topics at info@futureproof-training.co.uk to find out more.

Managing by Accident

The rise of the accidental manager clearly remains a significant issue within today’s business world. These are individuals who are promoted to run a team simply because they are popular, good at their job, or happen to be available to take charge. However, after a couple of weeks these individuals find themselves out of their depth trying to cope with the day to day reality of managing people.

Research suggests that 8 out of 10 managers have stepped into the role without any formal training so it is no surprise that most of them will struggle at some point. This may be due to the fact that they are not comfortable in their own leadership, as they are now responsible for people who used to be colleagues and friends. They also may not know what is expected of them by senior members of the business.

A new study has revealed that almost one in three workers are quitting their jobs as they have been pushed into a managerial role which is not supported with training and is subsequently having a negative impact on their mental health. Promotion without preparation can cause the individual to become overwhelmed and will result in burn out for both their professional and personal lives.

Formal and on the job management training will massively influence positive shifts in employee satisfaction both for the newly appointed manager and the team in which they are now responsible for. Key elements such as active listening, being approachable and creating a more collaborative approach when looking at new projects and big decision making, results in a higher performing team all round. This in time will also lead to a noticeable improvement in the business such as higher productivity levels and a reduction in staff turnover.

One of the ways in which we can support the accidental manager is to embed the right managerial behaviours early on. The core fundamentals which seem like basic aspects of management can actually be the turning point for an individual stepping up and enjoying their new role.

  • Time Management – setting objective and delegation.
  • Communication – feedback and difficult conversations.
  • Inclusivity – recognising the individual in your team and their learning styles.
  • Empathy – being able to listen and support others.
  • Assertiveness – giving clear instructions and not to micromanage.
  • Approachable – open to collaboration on new ideas.
  • Accountability – Lead from the front and take responsibility for mistakes.

At Futureproof, People Management is a huge focus for us and our Managing & Leading Teams programme is ideal for those currently in a management position and who want to learn how managing and leading effectively can draw the best out of others.  Delegates will learn the importance of leading by example and empowering others to take more responsibility which in turn will lead to a motivated and engaged team.

Click this link to find out more – Managing & Leading Teams – Futureproof Training

Recruitment & Talent Acquisition in Today’s Market

Talent acquisition is often considered the same thing as recruitment—the process of finding and hiring talent. However, in a forward-thinking organisation, talent acquisition is much more than that. Recruitment is about filling vacancies. If an organisation focuses only on short-term recruitment, they can end up with high turnover rates and stunted growth. By contrast, the talent acquisition process is more complex. It requires organisations to deeply understand their business priorities and use this knowledge to plan for future workforce needs. In short, it aims to align in-house talent with company vision.

What will make you an attractive company to potential new employees? It doesn’t have to be overly complicated here are a few simple suggestions on how to become an attractive employer:

  • Listen & Observe – by observing the ways your workers tackle certain tasks, managers can identify whether there is a talent gap within your organisation.
  • Focus Groups – using employee focus groups can further identify ways of working and enable managers to review the nuts and bolts of a person’s role.
  • Don’t over-complicate your application process
  • Sell the opportunity – potential employees want somewhere they feel they can thrive so use your website and social media platforms to promote employee benefits.
  • Bring your career pages to life – your company website will be where over 50% of candidates will head to.
  • Communicate throughout – It makes a more positive job-hunting experience all round even down to the rejection communication.
  • Keep it simple – Make sure you read the CV and ask the questions to ensure the candidate will fit into your current teams dynamic not just based on their skill set.

When interviewing, there are many different ways to read a candidate without asking direct or closed questions.  There will be other key indicators you make pick up on such as body language, do they talk openly with pitch and expression.

Following the S-T-A-R method is a good way of measuring a candidate’s passion for certain subject areas and will help identify if they are a lifelong learner or someone just looking for a stop gap.

It may also be worth getting feedback from someone who wasn’t in the interview for example the receptionist who may have seen them waiting and can offer comment on their actions prior to stepping through the interview door.

At Futureproof, we are fully aware of the importance of attracting, developing and retaining talent.  Come and take to us about our Recruitment and Interviewing Skills workshops or take a look at our full range of short courses by clicking here – www.futureproof-training.co.uk