While most companies understand that customer service is a key aspect of their business, many do not know exactly how they can train their team so that all customer and client-facing interactions are delivered to the highest standards.
Even fewer know how they can instil a deeper sense of principles in their employees so that customer service activities match their core beliefs and brand values.
We explore a few ways in which organisations can adapt their internal and external training methods, from working with a proven provider of customer service training to adapting your internal customer experience training approach.
Understand what Good Customer Service Looks Like
We’re not just talking about good verbal communication skills here. Any company can hire people who are good at answering calls and dealing with complaints, but building a great customer experience strategy and looking at the role of customer service more holistically is harder to do, albeit more important. Good customer service encompasses a wider set of approaches to meet the needs of customers. .
There’s a lot of proactive planning and strategy that goes into good customer service today, as well as anticipating the challenges and pain points of those who use your products and services and building strategies to overcome them. A prompt and effective “reactive” approach to dealing with problems when they arise is also critical. If you’re still having trouble picturing what good customer service looks like, a few examples are:
• Analysing any major issues your customers face when engaging with your organisation or buying your product, and addressing these issues
• Guidingcustomers through the initial steps needed to use your service, whether this is a user friendly online process or delivered in person
• Develop and publish a set of specific service standards so that your employees are clear about the role they perform and why it is important
• Equipping customer facing team members with the mindset, tools and skills they need to deliver the best levels of customer service
Depending on your business, there will be many opportunities to connect with customers, help them solve problems, and show them that you care.
Nurture Skills Internally
By recognizing desirable behaviour and achievements,you can help to nurture specific skills and attributes among your team. Often, it’s more a case of unleashing what’s already there and encouraging people to bring their best selves to work, rather than teaching people a completely new set of skills.
When building your internal customer experience strategy training approach, or simply talking with your team directly about what you value the most, we recommend focusing on the following skills that can help to ensure your team has the raw ingredients it needs to offer best in class customer service.
Emotional Intelligence – Being able to patiently listen, decipher someone else’s problem, and empathize is at the heart of customer service. We use the phrase ‘Thinking like others, for others’. Your customer service team and your employees, in general, will be more effective if emotional intelligence is deemed a valued asset in your workplace. You can start promoting this from day one by being calm, attentive and understanding to the needs of your employees. The concept of the internal customer also helps to reinforce that everybody plays a part in customer service delivery.
Good Communication – From simplifying complex topics to being able to listen to someone’s problems patiently are all key aspects of customer service. Clear, simple language and checking for understanding are sometimes underestimated in importance. If you can encourage people to do this with each other in your office, people will be more inclined to bring this to their customer-facing tasks.
Resourcefulness – Problem-solving skills, initiative, and creativity are invaluable. Sometimes, there may not be a simple solution to a problem, and it will take some resourceful thinking to get the job done. The key to this is for delivery of excellent customer service to be prioritized above adherence to ‘procedure’ (unless this is for legal or regulatory reasons).
Passion – There is nothing more powerful than a service person who wants to deliver great customer service, from the heart and takes pride in the service they give.
Improve Your Internal Training Approach
Building a solid internal approach for training your employees about all things customer service related is a no brainer. A few initiatives you can consider as part of your customer experience strategy training program are:
• Personal impact workshops to help employees understand the power of their mindset and performance on other people (colleagues and customers)
• Roleplay customer interactions so that your team have tangible examples to draw from
• Offer dedicated product training so that your new hires and existing employees can understand what you offer more comprehensively. If they’ve never actually used your product, how are they going to understand the concerns and challenges of your customers?
• Use customer feedback data and comments to identify positive examples of behaviour and also areas for improvement. Customer perception is the reality
• Ask your employees what needs to be done to improve customer service. Customer facing employees often have the answers but they are not asked
• Improve team integration through social and group bonding activities. Your customer service team needs to work together to best serve your customers and handle a variety of problems and conflicts
• Job shadowing can help employees understand the challenges faced by their colleagues
• Establish expectations, especially when new changes are implemented or when a new batches of employees are taken on board
• Update your training guide and allocate scheduled time for your team to read it and discuss any points they want to cover. Simply handing your employees a huge document and expecting them to absorb it is rarely useful. But giving people a forum to exchange feedback and opinion improves learning
• Recognise successes and hold people accountable for their performance
Find the Right External Training Providers
Sometimes, it’s necessary to bring in external support to improve your internal customer service abilities. There are hundreds of programs for customer service training, but many are ‘off the shelf’ content and might not address the specific needs of your business.
When looking for the right courses and training programs for your employees, it’s worth taking the time to understand the specific approach taken by any customer experience strategy training provider to ensure your team is being taught the right skills in the right way.