This post was originally published on lessonly.com.
Customer service training is a hot topic in the learning and development world. Did you know that 80% of clients say the сustomer experience a company provides is just as important as its products or services, and 57% stopped buying from a company because a competitor offered a better experience? Unfortunately, while many executives and leaders think that their reps are delivering great customer service, the reality is they aren’t. This is a costly disconnect. U.S. companies lost more than $75 billion in one year because of poor service. Whoopsie!
To raise your customer retention rate and simultaneously get new customers, your employees must be trained to make every customer connection a positive one. This is where customer service training programs come into play.
What is a customer service training program?
A customer service training program is a step-by-step plan created to educate customer service agents and support reps on the knowledge and skills they need to boost performance. It typically includes multiple courses that cover all the major issues associated with their work. In the case of customer service, these can include:
- onboarding courses
- product knowledge courses
- soft skills and customer interaction courses (attitude towards a client, conflict resolution, stress management)
- customer service training ideas
- best practices
- courses on market-specific communication style and language policy
How to build an effective customer service training manual
So, how can you create a custom service training manual that includes some of the courses mentioned about to help your team deliver better customer service? Here’s a few suggestions.
Do the prep work
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” In the case of customer support staff, you may be hiring people who have no experience in the field, so your training needs are easier to determine. Or, you may be running training courses for more experienced support staff who you want to take to the next level. That’s why it’s important to assess your current training program and make a plan based on what your support team wants and needs.
Use multiple training methods to keep teams engaged
Those of us who’ve been through a corporate customer service training course might associate them with images of endless hot and stuffy afternoons spent leaning on a desk, chin resting in the palm of your hand with boredom.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Mix things up to keep teammates on their toes. Nothing is worse than offering only one training approach and stubbornly sticking to that approach even when participants have lost interest.
Create relevant customer service training content
The actual content of online customer service training should always match your brand and customer service goals. Otherwise, even if it’s the most fantastic training program, it won’t be relevant to your employees or the skills they need to do the job. Some of the best customer service training programs include customer service training videos, customer service training exercises, and hands-on visuals to make the material more applicable.
Ensure training has the desired effect
All that work and now you need to make sure the efforts poured into your customer service certification process were effective! That’s why it’s beneficial to include assessments like quizzes or even tests to see if reps and agents can apply what they just learned. You can also ask participants to fill out evaluation forms after completing the training so you understand how they feel about their experience. Learn and improve from feedback to make sure participants get even more out of it next time around.
How to deliver better customer service
Great customer service means following best practices like valuing customers’ time, having a pleasant attitude, and providing knowledgeable and useful resources, while also taking things a step further to exceed—rather than just meet—expectations. There are oodles of ways to deliver better customer service, but we find these guys among the most important…
Know your products or services
As a customer support agent, you spend all day troubleshooting for customers, and that means you need to be a product or service expert. Your job is to help your customers get the most out of their purchase and feel like they have gotten true value for their money. Make it your goal to learn everything there is to know about your products or services so you can amaze your customers with timely recommendations for using new features and services.
Actively listen and maintain a positive attitude
Okay, so we know that’s two wrapped into one, but they go hand-in-hand. Customer service reps are in the position of hearing positive feedback as well as (probably more) voices of frustrated customers. LISTEN. Show your customers you hear them. Listening increases the chances that you’ll hear your customers’ real problems and be able to effectively solve them, resulting in warm fuzzy feelings. Don’t push your own agenda. Tailor your response to fit each unique situation. And do it with a positive attitude. Listen up: attitude is everything. An exceptional attitude goes a long way in providing excellent customer service and can change negative experiences into positive ones.
Be proactively helpful
Sometimes being helpful means anticipating your customers’ needs before they even have to articulate them. In fact, sometimes customers may ask for one thing without realizing that they really need another. It’s your job to anticipate their needs and provide for them.