Archives for posts with tag: customer support

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HON Training Tips

HON Customer Support’s training program is an arduous 7 week course filled with product training, process overviews, and job shadowing. We’ve got brochures, timelines, PowerPoints, and handouts, but you know what the most effective part of our training is? Jeopardy.

Why, you may ask? It’s fun, it’s competitive, and new hires or new members have to think on their feet. Jeopardy puts their knowledge to the test and it paves the way toward delighting our customers. Want to engage your members and increase your training’s effectiveness? Here are a few simple strategies:

  • Interaction – The easiest way to combat sleepy stares is to get them involved! Asking questions (and waiting for them to answer) encourages participation and application of material. If you don’t think anyone will answer, direct the question to an individual and take turns with different members. If you’re lecturing, give them exercises or simulations to break up the monotony.
  • Gamification – Everyone loves a little competition! Incorporating training into different types of games aids in content mastery and retention. Whether it’s one on one or team against team, gaming adds variety and refreshes the information they’ve learned. Adding rewards and challenges invigorates the learning experience. I challenge you to give it a try.
  • Multi-media – Am I banning PowerPoint? No! But, banning 100% PowerPoint? Yes! That’s the purpose of multi-media: use a combination of multiple content forms to conduct effective training. Training shouldn’t fit snuggly in a three ring binder; it should be a dynamic amalgamation of handouts, electronic media, games, demonstrations, and exercises. PowerPoint is an effective tool to disseminate information, but a slide with twenty-seven bullet points and three pictures is not. Make sure to use your tools wisely.

Don’t be in jeopardy of having a less than stellar training program– engage your members through interaction, gamification, and multi-media! Share some tips about your training regimen below.

PART 2

To complete Tuesday’s post, Part 1: The Top Ten Secrets of the Office Furniture World, read on below for 5 more things you should know about this industry:

  1. Lettered!

While the secret agents of Men In Black choose letters for their identity, we’ve yet to nickname our Customer Support members by the same token (we’ll get back to you on that). For everything else, we stick to the alphabet.  ‘L’ workstations typically involve a desk or credenza and a return, thus making the shape look like the letter  ‘L’. ‘U’ workstations usually involve three parts: a desk, bridge, and a credenza.

  1. Quartermaster’s Gift: A Pricer

Though it’s not an exploding pen or microphone lipstick tube, the Pricer has plenty of perks. Whether you need to know how to specify a Ceres task chair or how many people can sit at a 240” Preside conference table (we recommend 18-20), the pricer can answer the majority of your product questions. Here are a couple of handy tips: the seating sections are arranged alphabetically by series name, basyx by HON products are always listed at the end of the section, and Preside’s specifying information lists the majority of our edge profiles all in one place for easy viewing (located on page 632 in your 2015 pricer).

  1. The BIFMA Identity

While ANSI/BIFMA may sound like something Jason Bourne might reference, it’s actually our industry standard for seating weight ratings. All HON seating products (including chairs, credenza cushions, and pedestal cushions) are rated to the standard 250 lbs. Fortunately, we also go above and beyond – our pricer calls out any series that is rated for more than the standard. For instance, Endorse is rated at 300 lbs, Versant at 350 lbs, the Ignition HIWM8 at 450 lbs, and our new Soothe HHCG50 is rated to 750 lbs! Be sure to check the bullet points at the top of the page for additional series ratings!

  1. Finish Up!

Think you have the X-Factor to be a phantom in the Twilight? A good way to check your Affinity for the game is by testing your mettle. Dash out to hon.com for an excellent source of fabric and finish information. Give it a Chance! Its easy search capabilities allow access to fabric cards and online swatches, and with our vast Lineup of available fabrics, it will give you Insight into our textiles!

  1. Our Agents: Customer Support

Even the best spy team can’t hold a candle to our Customer Support team; we believe we have the best in the industry. Through extensive product and customer solutions training, our members know what it means to be HON ready. Whether you have a complex chair question that can be answered by our Technical Product experts or an inquiry on a state contract that our government team can remedy, our specialty teams are here to assist.

Though I’ll keep holding out for The Man Who Knew Too Much (About Office Furniture) remake, make sure to share these secrets!

Want to divulge some of your office furniture secrets? Share below!

Though we may never see the clever remake of the classic film, The Man Who Knew Too Much (About Office Furniture), the world of office furniture has its share of secrets. If you’re new to the industry, I’ve created a list of the top ten things I think you should know!

PART 1

  1. Secret Identity: Serial Number.

Even if your desk is under cover (literally covered with phones, computers, etc.), once we have a serial number, we can tell you all there is to know about a particular product. Our unique serial numbers easily provide our HON members with everything they need: original order information, model numbers, production year, and even if we’ve spoken to you before about that unit.

  1. The Name is Rail. Hang Rail.

The secret agents of the office furniture world? Hangrails. Their aliases include, but are not limited to: File Bar, Rails, Hanging File Bars, Dividers, or simply put, ‘those things the folders hang on.’ You’ve got side-to-side (standard on steel laterals) or front-to-back (an accessory) or even cross rails (standard on laminate laterals). The good thing about hangrails is that, if you have your storage product’s serial number, our stealthy HON Customer Support team can easily identify which hangrail (or cross rail) you need.

  1. The Language of HON

A good spy learns to speak multiple languages, and we’re right in line. Our secret language is model numbers. HIWM1 translates to HON Ignition Work Mid-Back. HCG6? HON Ceres Guest Chair.  Moreover, the majority of our series all have a common starter. For instance, the 10500 series models all begin with H105 and all Voi models begin with HLSL. Additionally, some of our models also handily list their dimensions: a Preside 52” X 240” veneer boat shaped table top is model number HTVB52240.

  1. Any Parting Words?

Parts are Mr. Hang Rail’s partner in crime. They wear many disguises, including the role of a ‘Finished Good’. Anything that has a model number is technically a ‘Finished Good’ item. Occasionally, this can extend into the realm of parts; take model HFLDGRMT for example. Though this is a grommet (typically a part), it’s a ‘Finished Good’ item because it has a model number.

  1. Bridging the Gap

Fortunately, bridges are not just used to cross bodies of water and a return doesn’t just mean coming back. Workstation configurations involve many different types of product. Desks and Credenzas, though similar, are different. The main difference is the depth of the work surface; a desk is between 30”-36” deep, whereas a credenza is 24” or less. Bridges can link the two, or a return can be used to create an “L” Workstation.

Not sure what an “L” workstation is? Check back Thursday  for Part 2! 

As you know, customers are the most valuable asset to your business, so it is important to invest in keeping them happy. Did you know that each unhappy customer will tell an average of ten potential customers about their dissatisfaction? That’s a staggering thought. There’s a lot more at stake than you may realize when a customer becomes upset. You have to consider the potential loss of their future business in addition to the cost of potential new customers. On average, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain satisfied customers. Now, that’s not to say we don’t need new customers. But what if we balance the satisfaction of our current customers in addition to acquiring new ones?

Next time you are faced with an opportunity, here are 6 steps that will help demonstrate your commitment to the customer:

1 – Listen. Especially in Customer Support, it’s in our nature to want to solve the problem right away. But by listening first, you might hear something differently than you first assumed. Be an active listener. Take notes and summarize what you heard to ensure you completely understand the matter at hand.

2 – Remain calm. Emotions can run high, especially in the heat of the moment. Remind yourself that you are here to help, and remove your emotions from the situation.

3 – Don’t take it personally. When an individual is frustrated, it may feel like it is being directed at you.  Remind yourself that it he or she is frustrated with the situation and not you personally.

4 – Provide regular updates. Nothing is worse than the waiting game. Even if you don’t have all of the answers, keep the customer updated on the steps you’re taking to resolve the issue so they will understand it is important to you and to the company.

5 – Pick up the phone.  In today’s email and social networking world, a message can be interpreted many different ways. To avoid miscommunication, pick up the phone and have a conversation.

6 – Find a solution and follow-up. Most importantly, provide a resolution and follow up with the customer to close the loop and ensure they feel the situation has been resolved.

HON’s Customer Support members live by these steps. We understand the opportunity to not only help our customers, but to also demonstrate our loyalty and commitment to them.  What additional best practices do you follow?

Please join me for a virtual tour of HON Customer Solutions! I will take you through four prevalent activities that are practiced here in HON CS.

Support

As we strive to deliver an effortless customer experience as an organization, providing valuable support to our customers in Customer Solutions is our number one focus. Our department encompasses Business Relations Specialists (Regionalized teams), Government Solutions Specialists (Government Solutions Team), Commercial and Government Order Entry, Product Solutions Specialists, Commercial and Government Project Coordinators, Tailored Solutions, Dealer Services Group, and Integrated Design Solutions. Members of all divisions work near to other members of their team to maximize communicative efficiency.

Pictured: Business Relations Specialists answering customer phone calls and emails

Pictured: Business Relations Specialists answering customer phone calls and emails

Pictured: Integrated Design Solutions answering customer phone calls and emails

Pictured: Integrated Design Solutions team busy working on design projects and specs and answering customer phone calls

Learn

We value training and continuous learning in Customer Solutions as part of a Rapid Continuous Improvement mentality. Our training room serves not only as a classroom for new members, but for all department members during frequent training sessions on important business updates.

Pictured: Training class in Customer Solutions training room

Pictured: Training class in Customer Solutions training room

Pictured: Training class in Customer Solutions conference room

Pictured: Training class in Customer Solutions conference room

Collaborate

We employ a strong sense of community in Customer Solutions. I believe this to be driven by our support of one another through collaboration. Our department is furnished with several collaborative meeting areas that allow for impromptu meetings to share ideas or touch base; or to simply take a break.

Pictured: Collaborative meeting area

Pictured: Collaborative meeting area

Pictured: Collaborative meeting area

Pictured: Collaborative meeting area

Refuel

Breaks are important for maintaining consistent productivity. Members are able to visit the kitchen steps from their workspace to grab a coffee, soda, or a snack from the vending machine.

Pictured: Customer Solutions kitchen and break room

Pictured: Customer Solutions kitchen and break room

Pictured: Members are treated to movie theatre style popcorn on special occasions!

Pictured: Members are treated to movie theatre style popcorn on special occasions!

When I began my career at HON as a Business Relations Specialist in Customer Support, I was a recent college grad finding my way in the world. Though I knew little about the office furniture industry at the time (what’s an asynchronous control?), I jumped in with both feet. Here are a few of the reasons why I love working in Customer Support at HON:

1. We Live (and Work) in the Midwest

You may know Iowa for its cows, corn, or infamous Fried Butter (thank you Iowa State Fair). But, it is also known for the people who call it home. Iowa, the quintessential Midwestern state, is one of the top ten happiest states according to a recent Gallup poll.  So, how does this affect our customer support skills? We’re happy to answer the phone –from right here in Iowa – and answer any questions you may have.

2. We’re Dedicated to Our Members

We understand our most valuable asset is our people. That’s why HON doesn’t have employees – we have members – and each member is vital to our success. HON offers a variety of member development programs, from Leadership Foundations to Presentation Skills training to foster personal growth within the organization. The HON Company is committed to seeing our members succeed!

3. We Have Fun

As my past blogs have alluded, there’s never a dull moment at HON! We definitely know how to work hard and play hard. Whether we’re making Kryptonite Juice for a Superhero Food Day contest or playing a highly competitive game of Friday Bingo, we know how to have fun.  Not only does this injection of creativity and friendly competition create a better work environment, but it instills a stronger sense of community in our members (and allows for the occasional good natured jab at whoever wins bingo!)

4. We’re Committed to Our Partners

… And their success. From offering the free services of our ingenious Integrated Design Solutions team or making it a priority to respond to phone calls in less than a minute, we want to make it easy for those who partner with us to sell our product. Being the ‘Best in the Industry’ isn’t just a goal, it’s a commitment we make to anyone who does business with HON.

5. We’re a Team

‘Team’ isn’t just four letters at HON Customer Support – its seventy-six people. Whether we’re doing our Friday Wave (think basketball games) or assisting a fellow member with a rush order, we’ve got each others’ backs. One of the best things about working at HON is that our members genuinely care about each other – and that drives the teamwork that makes our department function like a well-oiled machine.

6. We Work at HON!

Whenever I drive down the highway and see a HON truck, I feel the need to point it out to my fellow passengers (and make known to them exactly what arms, colors, and options are available on that Nucleus chair). It’s a sense of brand pride, and whenever you call in to HON Customer Support we share that experience with you. While I haven’t yet spray painted my car the HON colors, you can be sure that I bleed HON green!

Why do you love HON Customer Support?

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