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  • Writer's pictureJoel Thiessen

From Transactional to Relational

Transforming Your Customer Service Approach

Relationship starts with a purchase, but like all relationships, they are really built when a mistake is made.

Most companies don't see relationships being built by their customer service team.

This is because North American culture generally doesn't think relationally.

You have two options if this is you.

  • Outsource to Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, or somewhere else

  • Train your staff to be relational.

If you want the first, send me a message, I can help you set that up.

If you want the second, I can help with that too, but if you keep reading, I will give you some keys.

If you want your American staff to become relational, you will have to face some hard truths.

  1. American culture is transactional by nature.

  2. Most Americans have never seen what being relational looks like.

  3. If you want relational customer service, you must teach relational customer service and live relationally with your team.

  4. Leaders who want relational customer service must create a dialogue with their customer service team when mistakes are made.

Now that those are out of the way, this is how I would go about training your American Customer Service team.

If your team has been serving you for a long time and aren't very good.

  • You need to make expectations clear to them.

I would not do this in a mass email.

This is a personal face-to-face, one-on-one conversation with each staff member during their weekly / monthly meeting with you.

(If you don't have a weekly one-on-one with your team members, you may want to start that. Monthly at the longest increments)

This is for setting expectations and telling them the new direction you are going and allowing them to ask questions from you.

The more clear you are the better.

  • Retrain your team

This is generally done through weekly conversations and direction by you.

This is the opportunity for you to do Quality Assurance reviews with them and build them to be the team that you want.

This can take months to do properly, but remember that you are teaching them a new heart attitude, not simply a new behavior.

It takes time.

  • Keep Moving Forward

Some people will not be able to make the shift.

You will need to identify these people and move on quickly.

Keeping them on your team will slow the teams transition immensely.

There is an adage that says that 80% of the people do 20% of the work and 20% of the people do 80% of the work.

Know that this is a business decision.

You are not a charity and if people have been given a chance to move forward and they don't want to.

You will have to make the hard decisions.

If you want to make this transition easier, send me a message, I would love to walk you through this in a short conversation.

If you want to have somebody else handle the transition for you, we can do that too. This all starts with a message from you to me. I'll be happy to see it.

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