Don’t Work Your Employees Until They’re Ready

 In Your Employees

Regardless of whether you run a café, a bar and restaurant, or a small speciality goods retail shop, your “front of the house” employees are your brand. They are the people with whom your customers interact the most, and they potentially can make or break your good reputation.

There may come a time when you find yourself in a staffing jam – Jenny went back to school, and Bill had to shift to part-time. There are some significant holes in your schedule, and you simply need more people “on the floor.” While it can be tempting to hire some able-bodied people to fill the schedule and worry about training them as you go, there’s a better approach.

You see, by working employees before they are ready, they will inevitably make mistakes that could upset your regular (and not-so-regular) customers. How could they NOT make mistakes, if you haven’t told them what to do in this or that situation? While about 70% of “training” is, in fact, on the job – that 30% of logistical and core training has to come from YOU.

ritzcarlton-logo_jpg_400×284_pixelsSome of the biggest and best brands in the customer-service world would never let their employees work before they are ready. For example, Ritz-Carlton (@RitzCarlton) requires all new employees to undergo a 21-day training program and certification to ensure that they are ready to consistently provide the best service to their guests, and are able to smoothly troubleshoot any issue that might come up. After 21 days, they have a check-in with their manager, and another mini-orientation to firm up their skills.

Wegmans LogoSimilarly, Wegmans (@Wegmans) – the super sized grocery store chain – requires cashiers to complete 40 hours of register training before they are allowed to interact with customers. The company also routinely trains non-cashiers to work on the registers, so that they are able to pull from various departments when there is a back up at check-out. With these two training procedures in place, Wegmans ensures that no matter who the customer is, or what they need, the cashier can take care of it without having to call a manager (and create a delay).

Zappos LogoLastly, Zappos (@Zappos) – the online retailer heralded for outstanding customer service – has all employees (regardless of what department you are working within the company) complete a rigorous four-week cultural and customer service training program. Additionally, they have a three week-long training program for their Zappos Customer Loyalty Team employees, who take the phone calls, emails, and live chats from their customers.

So, it’s no surprise that these three companies are constantly appearing at the top of various “Best Customer Service” or “Best Companies to Work For” lists. They value their customers above all else, and because of that – they value the time and energy put into training each and every one of their employees on any situation that might arise before they even get to interact with a customer. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

How do you set your employees up for success?

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