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Continuing Education and Training Can Help Fuel Your Business Growth
While adding new customers and increasing recurring monthly revenue drive your top line income, it’s your employees – your internal staff and field technicians – that keep your alarm business alive. Many businesses, however, neglect employee training, seeing it as a nonessential expense. But ongoing training can be helpful to both employees and your company, increasing long-term value. Here are four ways training can be used to fuel growth in your business.
It’s the nature of technology to continually change and improve. As a provider of that technology, it’s expected of your business to stay current. And because a good bit of your business is integrating systems, you can’t depend on any one manufacturer for training. You’ll need to look at and evaluate third party courses, and provide them on a regular basis.
Keeping on top of new technologies will allow you to create an advantage in your markets. You’ll be able to act on and offer capabilities and services before your competition, opening new streams of revenue.
Creating a culture of continual learning is also very attractive to new hires, so it can become a recruiting and retention advantage, too.
Customer Service Training
Each and every one of your employees represents your business and your brand. It’s their interactions that will leave your customers feeling positive or negative about the experience. Don’t assume everyone has the same innate ability dealing with people. Putting in procedures (so your customers have a consistent experience) is a good start. Training your staff to handle questions, complaints and requests efficiently, consistently and with a can-do attitude will go a long way to making the customer feel well-cared for.
That extra training can help your employee make the link between “going above and beyond” and seeing positive referrals (and the new business they bring) rolling in.
One of the most common complaints consumers have about companies that must provide on-site service is that companies fail to treat customer time with respect. Often customers are taking time off of their work schedule to be at home during a specified window of time. When a technician is late or does not have the proper equipment to complete the job, the customer feels the pain. And remembers it!
Again, consistent procedures are a good place to start, and they can tell your staff ‘what’ to do – but a little training on ‘why’ it’s important will show a high return, in both customer referrals and repeat business.
Appointment reminders and being on-time. Using flooring protection or booties when coming inside to prevent damage. Post installation cleanup. They may be little things, but they add up in the customer’s eyes, and it’s important for your technician to relate to being on the receiving end of such courtesies.
Another very important requirement needed in the field is ensuring customers know how to and are comfortable using their new systems. Your technicians will be dealing with everyone from those who cannot work the TV remote, to programmers with knowledge that will challenge the technician’s every move.
It’s your responsibility to make sure your team has the skills to show the customer how to properly use their new system. A good way to build skills is to have staff teach each other.
Comfortable with their new system, customers feel empowered, reinforcing they’ve made a valuable purchase. What’s more, it cuts down on frustration and customer service and tech support calls, ultimately saving time and money as well.
It’s a good approach to view everyone in your company as being in sales, no matter their “role.” Chances are good that in the course of servicing an account, many of your employees will have several opportunities to “upsell” a customer.
An existing customer might not be aware of a newly introduced service, for instance. A field technician may recommend ways to add value during a maintenance call. It doesn’t have to be a full-on sales pitch; simply teaching your employees how to properly explain all your services and how they provide value is often all it takes.
Hosting regular demos for your staff and giving them hands-on experience with new features is a great way to get comfortable with talking about them in a non-sales-y manner.
Here’s a tip: Creating goals that let your staff share in sales success will motivate them to keep their eyes open for those opportunities.
Your employees have a huge impact! They’re the face of your company, after all, so it’s important that they accurately and adequately represent your business and its values. As you are considering the best places to invest in your business growth, employee training is an area to ignore only at your peril.
How have you used training to help boost capability, customer service or sales? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your successes and struggles with employee training. We’d love to share your stories and what you’ve learned.