Most companies, whether they sell products or provide services, are in the same business - the relationship business. To that end, Customer Service goes well beyond a specific job title; from the person who answers your phone to the Customer Service rep in charge of handling complaints, everyone in your company will benefit from being included in your customer service training programs to some extent.
Simply put, good customer service saves business, and bad customer service loses business. One study suggests that U.S. companies are losing a total of $75-billion per year due to poor customer experiences.
A robust customer service training program inoculates your company from negative reviews. It gives employees the skills they need to impress anyone they speak with, whether in person, on the phone, or online. One widely cited study by Accenture found that for every $1 invested in training, companies received $4.53 in return. That’s a 353% ROI.
In this guide, we’ll explain everything there is to know about sales training programs including:
Customer service training should be available throughout an organization so each employee can be a positive ambassador for the organization.
Typical Common Service Job Titles:
The obvious choices are the call center representatives answering customer inquiries while following well-crafted scripts, or the team of tech savvy admins who deftly handle chat and social media touchpoints. It’s also the retail clerk that has the skill to upsell with nearly each interaction. It’s important to note that customer service is provided by anyone who may interact with a customer from initial inquiry throughout the business lifecycle. These might include:
“Thank you for calling XYZ corp. My name is Carol. How may I help you today?” It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to teach employees how to greet customers professionally and in your brand’s voice. Don’t leave anything to interpretation and you can avoid issues that come from your call center employee from “freestyling it” on the phone.
It’s imperative that call center employees are well trained because making a connection over the phone, especially dealing with a frustrated customer, is essential to your company’s reputation – especially in the age of the online review.
A call center associate is quite literally the voice of the company – and this role can be filled onsite, or through a work-from-home team connected through company software. Customer service training must include the duties to be performed and tone of the calls (are reps allowed to speak casually while they problem solve, or must they stick to a strict script). They should know when and how to escalate a call to a manager or other department. Finally, training should include documentation protocols so the customer doesn’t have to go over their entire history with the company each time they call.
Well-rounded customer service call center training will help your employees speak in a unified voice.
Whether call center customer service reps follow scripts or speak in a more freeform manner, they must have well-honed active listening skills. There’s a lot that goes into being an active listener. Active listening means you’re truly taking in what the other person is saying, not just waiting for your turn to speak. Active listening skills are especially important for a phone representative because they don’t have the benefit of nonverbal cues.
Dealing with angry callers can be a burdensome part of the job for a call center representative. That’s why customer service training programs must teach skills to handle conflict without getting angry or upset. Employees should feel empowered to make a sincere apology, and direct the customer toward finding a satisfactory solution. These incredibly valuable skills help improve customer satisfaction and prevent employee burnout.
More and more companies are offering customer service through their website or social media channels allowing customers to reach out through the web to get questions answered. In the case of social media, the customer service interaction may take place in front of a wide audience, so the admins working these channels need to be on top of their game.
Customer service chat can be effective and efficient, but it can also be frustrating for both parties if the representative isn’t prepared. Training in the following skills can bring a company’s online chat to the next level.
Use of positivity and professional language help prevent online gaffes that can happen when dealing with the written word.
Social media can be a great customer service tool because it allows your fans and followers to see how you deal with customers in a very public forum. That means a company needs a well-trained staff to monitor social media. When handling feedback online, it’s important that the admins never come across as defensive or condescending.
Remember, the written word does not offer the benefit of intonation, verbal or facial cues, so it’s important to address the issue professionally, and try to move more complex problem solving offline.
A survey of retail customers revealed that there are five things customers want in their retail experience. They want a knowledgeable associate, satisfaction, personalized service, online and offline integration, and a fun experience. Employee development should start with the basics. Excellent customer service starts with knowledge about products as well as store policies.
Although most shoppers in retail stores have fairly normal interactions, there are a small percentage that can’t seem to behave in public. Some interactions escalate in such ridiculous ways, they become viral videos. No one needs that type of publicity. Customer service training to prepare staff for conflict, including role playing, can de-escalate issues before they get out of control.
Topics to cover include:
No customer service training program would be complete without giving staff the skills to address conflict. Surprisingly, it’s not hard to work with difficult situations if staff knows what to say, and how to say it.
Most difficult customers can be dealt with as long as staff members are trained to approach the situation professionally and with empathy. This approach optimizes the potential for a positive outcome.
Defining difficult customer types:
Most salespeople dread having to deal with an angry or disgruntled customer because of the emotions that come into play. Anger is an unintelligent emotion that’s always triggered by something. It’s very common and very human. It’s never pleasant, but it doesn’t have to be painful.
Four types of anger:
Although each type is rooted in a different cause, it’s important that staff members are trained to diffuse the situation in a professional manner. They should avoid taking the complaints personally while following a clearly defined process for addressing the situation. The object is to lower the temperature of the interaction while reaching an acceptable and actionable solution.
Building relationships with your customers can happen at any contact point. It’s imperative that the appropriate customer service training program is available so any employee who may interact with a customer can respond appropriately to build loyalty.
By partnering with a company like ej4, you have access to an entire library of off-the-shelf customer service training as well as the ability to create custom content that address your unique needs. In addition, your staff can access our complete Business Skills Library with other related training that could bolster their customer service skill set:
Modern customer service teams need a modern training solution. Check out our latest blog to learn about bringing customer service training into the 21st century.
Watch full courses from our Customer Service video category on topics like representing your brand, creating great customer conversations, and more.
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