Why is customer service training so important?
While a mixture of elements goes into building a successful business, customer service is center-stage. Often, customer service is what separates companies that prosper from those that fail. And customer service training is what separates a good support team from a great one.
With the right customer support training program, your team can focus more on delivering better customer experience and higher engagement rates. No matter how great your product is or how dedicated your staff is, one of the things that customers are most likely to remember is the direct interaction they have with your company.
The quality of support your customer service team offers defines the customer’s success and experience. This is where good customer service training comes in.
So what is customer service training?
Customer service training is the training that customer support teams go through to enhance their knowledge, skills, and capabilities to enhance customer experiences. It is an ongoing process of learning and growth for an employee throughout their tenure with a customer support team.
Any employee that is customer-facing or interacting with an audience as a representative of a company is eligible for this training.
Why is customer service training so important?
According to Gartner, “Customer service is a competitive advantage in a world where 89% of businesses compete through the level of customer experience they can deliver.”
From pre-purchase, through their buying, and to their post-purchase experience. Delivering great experience gives your businesses a competitive edge and a solid reason to invest in the right customer service training ideas.
Key benefits of great customer service training (also, first-hand opinion!):
Increased customer retention
Excellent service always pays back. When customers are happy with your service quality, they remember, refer you to friends, and tend to come back for more, which in turn increases their lifetime value.
Builds brand reputation
When customers are impressed with the quality of customer service offered while interacting with your business, it creates a better brand rapport and increases your consumer base.
Positive word of mouth
When customers are satisfied with your service they become loyal to your brand and advocate your brand by sharing their success stories with friends and family with good word of mouth.
Related Article: Customer Care: The first step in building a customer-centric brand
Why should your teams undergo customer service training?
Customer service training is conducted to educate agents on improving customer service practices and dynamics. Additionally, seminars and motivational speeches by customer service experts can help agents gain perspective and get tips for enhancing their performance. Not just that, training like these also help in the overall grooming of employees.
Read How Maxicus boost customer experience for a leading commercial bank
Here’s why your teams/agents must undergo training before interacting with customers:
Continuous learning and skill-building
Training customer service agents can yield impactful results in terms of enhanced personal performance. As agents are exposed to new and emerging customer service trends, in addition to complex customer problems, they learn how to navigate through them using real case studies.
For example, here at Maxicus, agents are taken through regular refresher courses that help them retain information about client policies, quality standards, etc. One-on-one time with their supervisors allows for a better understanding of how to resolve complex customer concerns and build better communication skills.
Not only does training help develop better problem-solving abilities but also teaches how to manage human relations more effectively. Training activities, especially games, are usually fun and highly engaging. These games can help encourage teamwork and putting aside all personal differences to achieve a common goal.
Happy agents = Happy customers
Training activities have an added advantage of engaging employees in such a way that it encourages learning and team bonding. Keeping employees engaged also boosts motivation and job satisfaction. If employees feel that they are learning and constantly upgrading their skills, they are likely to stay motivated and give their best to their job. Training sessions provide a good opportunity for employees to voice their concerns and give recommendations to improve the service experience for customers.
Shortcut to better customer retention
Education and training inevitably equip employees to perform their tasks more effectively, which eventually leads to happier customers and more sales for the company. Not just that, customer service training equips agents to attend to each customer for their concerns, thereby increasing the chances of a customer sticking around for longer. A single good experience with a brand is enough for a customer to develop loyalty. Which brings us to the next point…
Greater customer experience
Customer service training workshops and seminars have the potential to drastically change the behavior of agents, which, consequently will help them deliver better customer experience. Customer service training teaches agents to develop a customer-centric approach, encouraging them to put themselves in the customers’ shoes to see things from their perspective.
The training activities focus on developing a customer-centric philosophy which goes a long way to deliver and improve the overall experience for customers. It helps agents to develop an ability to understand the needs of the customer and formulate solutions in accordance. Offering better customer service will, in turn, lead to more growth for the business.
Lower employee attrition
Many companies face high employee turnover, which proves damaging to not only the outlook of the company but its service quality as well. As new employees have to be constantly inducted and trained, it impacts the company’s ability to maintain the same customer service standards.
A recent survey revealed that up to 40% of employees who receive poor training leave their position within the first year.
High turnover is problematic for the business as it adds to the cost of re-hiring and training as well. Providing adequate training and upgrading the skills of agents is likely to encourage them to stay with the company since it indicates a potential for personal growth and development.
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Customer service training: Tips & Tricks
Here’s how to maximize the impact and value of your customer service coaching program.
Don’t focus too heavily on low performers. Make the best use of your time by delivering coaching to all groups, including top performers while focusing most on above-average agents, those who are best positioned to become players.
Micro-train them whenever necessary
Micro-training in short bursts is the most effective form of customer service training. In these unprepared sessions, managers pull agents aside to discuss specific, real-time performance data, making the session both personal and actionable for the agent. Use micro-training to praise top performers, strengthen mid performers’ service delivery, and mentor agents who are struggling.
Preserve your resources
Using training to get individual agents up to speed on every change or service issue affecting the entire team is too great a responsibility for managers and too costly for your operation. Better to schedule group training sessions instead.
Personal training pays off
Group training sessions are impersonal by nature. In a one on one training session, managers can focus on each agent’s most recent interaction and how it relates to their overall performance scores. Agents feel more comfortable opening up, and they come away feeling better equipped and more valued.
Consider your agent’s point of view
Be mindful of the agent’s attitude, awareness, and needs going into the session. Is the agent a high, average, or low performer? Do agents have access to the same performance data as their managers? Be ready to answer any anticipated questions.
Use real, first-hand data
Make sure you’re training on solid ground. Base the session on a call you listened to, customer feedback, or other performance data tied to a specific interaction. If the interaction is fresh in the agent’s mind, the session will be more meaningful and more impactful.
Set goals for each customer service training session
The law of diminishing returns applies here. The more you try to pack into a coaching session, the less the agent will get out of it. Limit your discussion to a single aspect of performance.
Start on the right foot
Traning isn’t about passing judgment or calling out inadequacies and failures; its purpose is to encourage agents and help them achieve their personal best. Start by highlighting the positive, ask open-ended questions, and focus on the behavior. Keep it simple.
During the session, it’s fine to remind agents of brand guidelines. But the focus of the session should be behaviors that can help them improve. Feedback should be clear and succinct so it’s easy to digest.
Put things in context
Showing agents how they compare with the overall team on a particular performance measure makes them more amenable to coaching and more invested in improving their performance.
Give them the floor
Don’t lecture; listen. Encourage agents to assess their performance and identify any barriers to improvement i.e time, customer service training, tools, etc. Ask them for their ideas on how to correct the problem(s).
Delivering memorable customer service is the aim of every organization, but very few eventually reach there. One of the prime reasons is the lack of a program that can train their support teams. Organizations that have implemented customer service training programs already, can also sometimes get caught in tough situations with difficult customers. This does not mean that their training program lacks any component. Just means that there’s always room for improvement.