Customer Service Training by the Customers Themselves

by Joanne Steele on March 23, 2010

Good customer service in small tourism towns is vital. But getting to town-wide great customer service is challenging.

1. Small businesses don’t have time or staff to provide much more that cursory customer service training.

2. High turnover is those lower paying front line jobs makes it challenging to invest in extensive customer service training.

3. Business owners often don’t have access to a quality customer service training program to use with their staff. So they resort to a “smile and be nice” cursory training.

4. The young people who frequently hold the frontline jobs in a small town are often the ones anxious to leave town. Their answer to “What’s there to do around here?” is likely to be “Nothing.”

How can your town’s Chamber of Commerce help promote helpful, good customer service?

By letting the customer help.

  • Set up a Customer Service Rewards program to recognize instances of great customer care.
  • When a visitor comes to your visitor center for information, offer them several customer service tokens to give to frontline people in town who provide exceptional service.
  • Get some donations from local businesses to reward these customer service stars.
  • Award prizes at the end of each month or at the end of the season.
  • Be sure that businesses notify the chamber when a token has been received by one of their employees. Announce the business and employee in your local newspaper in a regular customer service stars column.
  • Without special training classes or programs, you’ll begin to see your town-wide customer service improve.

Businesses will see the marketing value of encouraging good customer service.

Employees will see that their service is valued by their town as well as by their employer.

I heard about this program at a rural tourism conference a few years ago and can’t find my notes to be able to credit the town with this great idea. If it’s your town, let me know.

I’d love to hear how it’s going after several years.

Here are some related customer service posts:

How to Encourage Good Customer Service in Small Tourism Towns.

Are You Taking Your Most Loyal Customers For Granted?

Effective Visitor’s Centers. Providing a Small Town Welcome that Increases Business.

Like this cute photo? Check out rochelle, et. al.’s flickr photostream

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