It is really disappointing to new employees that the first day of orientation is spent on defining the rules and restrictions, usually required by the legal department, that, if not followed, will result in termination. At the end of the day, someone is asking, “How was your first day at work?” You don’t want their answer to be, “Well, all I learned was what will get me fired.”
While that information is important, consider the overall message you are giving new employees at the end of their first day. Highlight your culture by introducing your core values, describing the empowerment processes that employees can use to exceed customer expectations, and offering specific stories when employees went above and beyond for your customers.
Don’t bore your employees with rote customer service training. Instead, inspire them with a customer service education. Give your employees customer service tips and the reasons or explanations why it was important for customers. For example, tell your employees to respond with a customer’s “Thank you,“ with ”You’re welcome,“ or “My pleasure”. Then ask them if they know why “No problem” is a bad response. One or several may say that “No problem” means, in short, it’s no problem to them. Agree but say that the customer believes the employee said, at length, “Of the two of us around here, I’m the star of the show. Whatever you ask is not important to me, so it’s no problem.” Then let them know that you want to emphasize customer-centricity – always revolve around the customer. To customers, it’s all about them, not the employees. Then let them know that you want your employees, not to take care of customers, but to care for customers. Then encourage them to come up with ideas for customer care.
Be sure to prioritize during orientation the customer-centricity culture. Prior to orientation, collect outstanding customer service stories, bind them into a booklet, and give to all new employees.
One day of new hire orientation is never enough. If you want your employees to make it a habit to deliver outstanding service, you have to make it a habit to recognize them when they do. As employees care for their customers, habitually CARE for them: Communicate. Appreciate. Recognize. Empower.
- Distribute positive customer comments via your company email.
- Mount posters of customer testimonials.
- Create a weekly PowerPoint video of customer survey compliments along with the employees’ headshots to be run in the employee cafeteria.
- Each time an employee is mentioned by a customer, give them a raffle ticket. At the end of the month, hold a raffle of prizes.
- Write personal thank you notes to employees who deliver outstanding service. Send the notes to their home directly.
When you emphasize during orientation recommendations for exceptional customer service over rules for poor employee behavior, and follow up regularly with recognizing staff, your new employees will be motivated to live up to your business culture.