Going above and beyond

One of the biggest frustrations that customers face happens when a customer service person says that he or she can’t do anything about the situation. Many times, customers ask someone for help and they get this answer:  “That is not my job,” or “I don’t work in that department.”  This does not help customers, and it hurts the bottom line.

Certainly, many  employees are constrained by the parameters of their jobs. Some are not allowed to deviate from a script. Others simply don’t want to go above and beyond what is required. But good customer service sometimes means going the extra mile, doing something that may not be part of the job description.

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USA Today reports that some United States airports are training personnel to better assist travelers.  The training is aimed at making the customer service employees more resourceful. An airport manager at Miami International Airport (MIA) capsulizes why this is important:

“Regardless of where they work, (airport workers) shouldn’t say, ‘I don’t work in that area,’ ” says Dickie Davis of Miami International, which is rolling out a revised training program. “It may not be our fault, but it’s our problem. If customers didn’t like hot dogs at MIA, they don’t say, ‘I didn’t like hot dogs at MIA.’ They say, ‘I don’t like MIA.’ “

Travelers, according to the article,  may already be frustrated and irate. An unhelpful airport employee tends to make things worse. Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport aims to make sure their employees are helpful, that they go above and beyond:

Last year, Phoenix Sky Harbor produced a training video that is mandatory viewing for its own employees. Its main lessons: Smile; stop what you’re doing to pay attention to customers; maintain a positive attitude; be proactive; and escort customers, rather than simply giving directions, whenever possible.

The bottom line is that employees that are trained to be problem-solvers, that go above and beyond what is required of them help to reduce customer frustration.

What are you doing to train your customer service to go above and beyond? Are you taking any specific steps in that direction?


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