One of the most expensive mistakes any business can make is getting their customer service training wrong. Often, poor customer service results in high levels of churn, low customer satisfaction, and ongoing brand reputation problems. Unfortunately, customer service is often one of the lowest investment priorities. It’s already a significant cost, which results in minimal customer service training budgets.
When an otherwise exceptional company finds itself struggling to keep their customers, there’s a good chance that a lack of high-quality customer service training is at least partially to blame.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at 5 tips for getting your company’s customer service training right.
It’s surprisingly easy to get so caught up in the “how” of customer service training that you lose sight of the “why.” Ultimately, customer service is about finding a solution to the customer’s problem and making a good-faith effort to keep that customer satisfied. Part of the job is knowing how to handle the technical stuff (such as issuing replacements, managing credit card returns, and updating records in the CRM). But these skills should always serve the goal of actually delivering a service to the customer.
In terms of training, this tip means starting with the core concepts of customer service, then teaching the reps how to use their customer service technology to deliver that service in an efficient manner. While software and tools may change, the basic concepts that drive customer service will remain the same across any technology.
One of the stranger side effects of the smartphone era is that many people rarely talk on the phone. This is particularly true for younger people who may be taking an entry-level customer service job. Smartphones are for texting, social media, games, and browsing the web. They may even see actually talking on the phone as an inconvenience.
As a result, the old standards of telephone etiquette (such as knowing how to politely start and end a conversation, asking before putting the caller on hold or transferring, and using more formal and professional language) just aren’t as ingrained in today’s workers.
For the purposes of customer service training, it’s worth spending a little time on these topics. It’s often best to treat this concept as training in delivering exceptional service to the customers, rather than as a kind of remedial lesson in basic phone skills.
Business technology platforms have a well-earned reputation for being hard to use. This rule of thumb is particularly true for CRMs, helpdesk platforms, and other customer service software. These systems typically require a high degree of customization for each company’s unique use case.
Most businesses tend to treat customer service training as something of an afterthought. The result is that many customer service reps only have a basic understanding of the complex and heavily modified systems they use. For 90% of customer service situations, this may be all the training they need. Yet, the remaining 10% of cases create serious headaches.
Obviously, it would be unreasonably expensive to train every worker to become an expert user of your customer service software. But at the same time, a barely competent CRM user may actually cost you more. If you factor in frustrated customers and lost time, it’s a game changer. Surprisingly, the difference between competence and incompetence may be as little as a half-day of additional training.
How user-friendly is your customer service software? And how intuitive are your workflows and processes? Could any reasonably intelligent, computer-literate person step into the customer service role and grasp the basics? Could they navigate the CRM to find the most-used entry pages? If not, it may be time to streamline and simplify your system, as well as rework the UI to be less obtuse.
While reworking or “refreshing” your CRM and other business systems may not seem like a customer service training tip, it could be the best long-term solution for ongoing issues. The easier your customer service technology is to use, the less training it requires. This practice can dramatically reduce costs and reduce high levels of turnover from frustrated customer service workers.
Some companies don’t have the luxury of being able to streamline their customer service training problems away. Their business systems are simply too complex, interconnected, or customized to be meaningfully simplified. But good news: there is another option. You can create incentives for workers to take a deep dive into the system as is.
Here at Faye, we have a multi-platform add-on called Splash, which uses the principles of “gamification” to encourage users to train themselves. For instance, as users complete tasks and explore a CRM, they can unlock achievements, earn badges, compete in contests, and even win real-world prizes. This simple and effective method encourages workers to improve their own skills while they are on the clock—without adding more training days to the budget.
To learn more about how Faye can help your business create a cost-effective customer service training plan, call us for a free consultation.