How Complete is Your Customer Service Training?

One of the most important persons in your organization is the one who meets and greets your customers.  This person is the only immediate contact with your entire operation, and this person is the one who must communicate the customer’s inquiries and requests pertaining to the work to be performed.  Its just like taking your car to the dealer for service or repair since it’s the service writer who is your immediate contact, not the mechanic.  In other words, it is the customer service representative (CSR) who can actually make or break your business organization.

Yes, it is true that the CSR must be courteous, helpful, properly dressed and groomed, repeat the customer’s name and express sincere appreciation for the customer’s business.  Yes, it is true that the CSR must be skilled in all the clerical duties appropriate to the customer service area.  Yes, it is true that the CSR must be happy in his/her position and be highly motivated to perform well in that position.

But what about the sales portion of customer service?  Don’t your services need to be sold?  Of course, the answer is YES!  Therefore, the sales portion of customer service should be included in the overall training program for customer service.  This training portion must include the following:

  • A list of all the services offered for sale.
  • An explanation of each of the services offered for sale.
  • Suggested sales approach by the CSR, for example:

“Mr. Smith, I notice your overcoat buttons are very loose.  Would you like them tightened?  By tightening the buttons, you won’t lose any when you are ready to go out somewhere.  That has happened to me, and it sure can be frustrating.”

Mr. Smith will no doubt say:  “That’s a very good idea.  Go ahead and tighten them.  In fact, the button on the back pocket of my trousers, the gray ones, is missing.  Would you please replace it?”

The CSR replies:  “That’s fine, Mr. Smith.  We charge only one dollar per button to tighten and reinforce the overcoat buttons, and I’ll replace the button your trousers’ back pocket at no charge.  How’s that?  Anything else I can do for you?  Our tailoring department does excellent work on all major and minor alterations, also.”

This is true salesmanship.  Have you ever noticed how busy a tailor shop is?  Everybody needs alterations.  By the way, the difference between a paid repair and a free repair is one that is caught at the counter, not in the plant after processing.

“That is a beautiful tie you are wearing, Mr. Smith, it would be a shame if you spilled something on it and found that the stain is more permanent than you figured on.  We offer stain and water repellent service on ties as well as raincoats and other outer garments.  Please keep that in mind when you come back again.”

  • Indoctrination of the production process as an overview.  In this regard, The cleaning, spotting, finishing, assembly, detailing and bagging operations must be continuously taught as a reinforcement to the CSR’s technical training.  If the CSR cannot be comfortable in explaining any one of the processes, he/she can, at least, be able to introduce the customer to the appropriate technician for a more detailed explanation and solution to the customer’s problem.
  • Indoctrination of the tailoring operation including proper listing of services to be performed using the proper “jargon.”  For example:  Waist 1 inch smaller (not, take in waist), Pants 1 inch shorter (not, take up pants),  Seat 1 inch smaller (not, take out seat).  Minor fitting by the CSR can save the tailor lots of time by keeping him/her sewing instead of fitting.  Pants length, waist, seat, sleeve shorten, etc., can be accomplished by the CSR if properly taught.  The CSR should ask the customer if there are any repairs or alterations needed on all orders received.
  • Saving the cleaner/spotter valuable time while achieving more success in stain removal by the CSR asking the following questions: 
  • “Do you have any spots you can tell me about, Mr. Smith?”
  • “Can you tell me what it is”                                        
  • “Can you tell me how long it has been in there?”

       In this regard, the CSR will circle each spot with tailor’s chalk, and prepare a “special attention tag” denoting the spots’ data.  Also, a notation must be written on the invoice and customer’s receipt.  These garments are placed into a separate basket after being marked for processing.  Also, knowledge of the different stain groups as taught by Drycleaning and Laundry Institute and by this author will save valuable time in noting the stains and their data; and they should be included in the training program.

Several customer surveys have been made for the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute over the year, and they all say the same thing: Your customers wants you to take an interest in their clothes when brought to you for cleaning or laundering.  Most remark that their clothes are quickly swept off the counter and placed into a bag without any conversation about them or their problems concerning them.  All of the above procedures can be quickly and efficiently performed, and they will ultimately be greatly appreciated by your customers while showing your personal professionalism and that of your organization.

  • Training to include knowing the difference between the wetcleaning and drycleaning processes.  Knowing when to advise against drycleaning in favor of wetcleaning.
  • Training in preparation of a Customer Release of Liability form after determination that a garment could be damaged by the process.  This includes a diplomatic explanation as to the nature of the fabric and dye that could cause damage and the promise that all efforts will be made to avoid the damage. A simple rubber stamp with a short “release of liability” statement should be impressed onto all copies of the invoice.  The release must also state that the customer has been advised of the possibility of damage to the garment, otherwise, it will not be effective in a court of law.

Last, but not least, the CSR must be selected very carefully and interviewed comprehensively.  He/she must be motivated by good compensation, thorough training, acknowledgment and recognition.  After all, who else can be your best marketing tool?

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