This post was originally published on lessonly.com.
Over the last few years, we’ve written a lot about customer service KPIs and metrics, talked with other customer service leaders about the metrics they find important, and even created a certification that focuses on customer service training, enablement, and KPIs.
So, our ears perked up when we started hearing the term “customer effort score” come up in recent conversations. And naturally, we wanted to learn more.
What is a customer effort score?
Most customer service leaders and agents are familiar with metrics like CSAT and NPS. If not, here’s a quick refresher:
Customer Service Satisfaction (CSAT): This score is based on how happy customers are about a product, transaction, or interaction. It’s a short-term metric that looks at a customer’s relationship with your organization at that exact moment.
Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS tracks the loyalty of customers based on how likely they are to recommend a product or service to someone else. It includes numerous factors like your products, brand, and customer service experience.
Customer effort score (CES) compliments these metrics, and when understood and used correctly, it can be a game changer for your organization. It measures how much effort your customers have to use to get their issues resolved, requests fulfilled, or questions answered. This makes it easier to track customer loyalty to your organization over time.
So, why is this important? A study by CEB found that reducing the amount of effort a customer has to do is a great indicator of their overall loyalty to an organization or brand. In fact, more than 95% of customers who experience a high-effort interaction become more disloyal than customers who have a low-effort experience.
Wow. That got us thinking. How can organizations continue to improve customer effort scores and ensure that customers stick around for the long haul? To us, the answer is obvious—through customer service training for employees.
3 ways to improve CES with training and enablement
Now when we say ‘customer service training,’ we don’t mean your run-of-the-mill, old-school customer service training program. And we don’t think your standard free customer service training courses will do the trick, either. Instead, every organization needs to deliver ongoing customer service training to both new and experienced agents so they can continue to delight customers. After all, training is pivotal to your agents’ ability to help customers. Here are three customer service training ideas and enablement strategies to consider to keep CES low:
1. Train on products and services
The better your agents know and understand all of your organization’s products and services, the easier it will be to answer a customer’s question or resolve a problem about a certain product or service. There’s nothing worse than putting a customer on hold while finding another agent or supervisor who knows the correct answer. That’s why it’s important for your agents, new or experienced, to receive detailed customer service training around your organization’s offerings.
It’s also important to remember that our ability to retain newly learned information is pretty low. In fact, we forget nearly half of what we learn an hour after we learn it. Then, within 24 hours, we forget nearly 70% of new information. So instead of pulling agents into in-person (or virtual) training sessions, give them access to online training and lessons that they can access anywhere, anytime. This gives them the opportunity to revisit key training material and refresh their memories on product and service info as often as they need.
P.S. If you’re trying to figure out how to deliver consistent product training to your entire team, check out our completely free customer service training manual. It’ll make your customer service training and enablement efforts a breeze.
2. Enable them on processes and procedures
Consistent and thorough customer service enablement should also focus on your organization’s processes and procedures. Do you have a certain path that agents need to follow to escalate a customer complaint? Or, do agents have the permission and flexibility to solve customer problems without needing a supervisor or manager’s approval? Great enablement gives your reps the authority and autonomy to do what’s right for the customer so they can solve the task at hand instead of jumping through a ton of hoops to help their customers.
When it comes to other customer service training topics and processes, it’s also important ensure your agents know how to work with the systems in your customer service tech stack. For example, if your agents need to tag a support ticket a certain way or with a certain topic so that it goes to the right agent for assistance, be sure to enable them on how to do that. These enablement efforts will ensure that your agents can help a customer in the most efficient and effective way possible.
3. Practice soft skills
Everything we’ve already mentioned here is extremely important, but your customer service training efforts will fall flat if you don’t give your agents the opportunity to also learn and practice crucial soft skills. Customers want to deal with friendly and pleasant agents who are great listeners, problem solvers, and communicators. And, if your agents don’t embody these skills that make interactions effortless (and pleasant), you’ll likely see your CES suffer.
Here at Lessonly, we strongly believe it’s one thing to train agents on soft skills. But, it’s a game-changer when you give agents a safe space to apply, practice, and hone their soft skills. This way, they aren’t learning while doing. If you throw agents into an interaction before they feel confident, it’ll be obvious during a customer interaction. Instead, give them the opportunity to practice soft skills in mock scenarios and interactions. Then, you can review how they performed and provide the helpful feedback and coaching they need to succeed.
At the end of the day, customers want easy transactions that make them feel valued. The good news is that by delivering various types of customer service training to your team, you can ensure your agents have the skills and knowledge they need to delight customers and make your customer effort score soar.
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