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The Makings of a Great Drycleaning CSR (Conclusion)

What are the best ways to keep both customers and staff loyal?

CHICAGO — Once the right customer service representatives (CSRs) are hired and trained to take care of your customers, it’s important to train them in knowing what to do when the inevitable claim is made. Perhaps even more crucial is to show your CSRs that you value their effort and expertise in taking care of your clients.  

In Part 1 of this series, we examined the traits the best potential CSRs bring with them to your business and what to look for when hiring. In Part 2, we explored the training processes needed to make an uncut gem into a jewel who takes serving your customers to the next level. Today, we’ll conclude by looking at ways to keep customers with claims loyal to your business, and how to keep your best CSRs working behind your counter.

When Problems Arise 

While CSRs shouldn’t be able to make every decision when dealing with angry customers, Jennifer Whitmarsh, owner of Snappy Dry Cleaning in Williamsville, New York, believes they should be able to take care of some situations to both streamline the process and preserve the customer’s loyalty to the store. 

“They should certainly have some ownership of it, and some autonomy,” she says. “It shouldn’t always be, ‘My manager will have to call you,’ because that can be a big waste of time. Overall, they need to understand what their limits are, and every company is going to be different. You want to share with the team the guidelines you have, and let them know what they can do and what they can’t do. But I certainly think they should have some say, because every little thing does not need to go up the food chain.”

“Our CSRs are the first and, most of the time, the last interaction that we’re having with the customer,” agrees Jennifer Davis, training and development people manager for the ZIPS Cleaners network of drycleaning stores, “so we empower them through the training and give them the tools they need to be able to listen to, respond and then act to make the situation correct.”

“For some bigger things, of course, you’ll need to get the owner or manager involved,” Whitmarsh says, “but if there are dollar amounts they’re able to credit to the customer’s account, then set those guidelines up, and communicate it to them. Train with it, teach it, and then, when it happens, they’ll be able to handle the situation and manage it to where the customer walks away and feels they’ve been treated fairly.”

Keeping the Best for Yourself

One of the lessons the recent labor market has taught business owners is that it can be difficult to keep talented staff members because their skills are in higher demand. The training you’ve provided might walk out the door if the CSR doesn’t feel valued at your company and is offered a better paycheck.

“This is a big one in this industry,” Davis says. “We understand employee retention isn’t easy. However, we put a key focus on training, and if the employee has the opportunity to learn, grow and develop within a company, I feel like it’s a win-win for both the company and the employee. The employee then needs feedback, encouragement and rewards so they continue to grow within our company.”

Building and maintaining a relationship is crucial for retention, Whitmarsh believes.

“You want to make sure you’re constantly communicating with them,” she says. “Ask if they are still happy. Are things going well? What are some obstacles? What are some things you don’t like?”

And the communication doesn’t always have to be work-related.

“Make it an environment where it’s fun to come to work, and where work isn’t a ‘four-letter word,’” Whitmarsh says. “That doesn’t mean you have parties every other day, or you let them slack off. That just means you’re talking to them, seeing how things are going, and meeting them in the middle.”

If the owner or manager treats their staff as individuals, Whitmarsh says, they might avoid unpleasant surprises.

“You should know if a team member wants to leave before they leave,” she says. “If you have a good pulse on your team, you will know that beforehand and work to avoid it.”      

Click HERE for Part 1 of this series. Click HERE for Part 2.                                       

The Makings of a Great Drycleaning CSR

(Photo: © NewAfrica/Depositphotos)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].