The relationship with your customers is one of the most critical elements of success. A strong, positive relationship means customer retention, growth, and profitability. A weak, negative relationship means losing market share to competitors, loss of perceived brand value, and major challenges.
For organizations struggling to maintain a strong relationship with their customers, the answer is simple – improved customer service. With a better customer experience at every touchpoint, customers will be happier, more satisfied, and more loyal. That translates to better profitability, faster growth, and a larger share of the market for you.
The question then is this: how do you raise customer service? The answer is customer service representative training. In this article, we will cover some of the most important tips to ensure that your training is successful.
Know Where You’re Falling Short
Before you can provide any sort of customer service-related training, you need to know where your team is falling short. This will require a deeper dive into CS-related metrics, most of which should be available through your CRM (customer relationship management platform). Some of the most important metrics to consider include the following:
- Customer feedback – What are your customers saying about their experience with your people? Is there consistent feedback about a particular touchpoint along the funnel? If you’re using satisfaction surveys, what information can you glean from them in terms of service breakdowns, bottlenecks, or other problems?
- Customer journey – Take a look at the outline of the average customer journey. Is there a common point where you see a significant number opt out? This can be a valuable clue about where you need to pay closer attention and hone in on skills shortages or other issues.
- Number of escalations – Expecting to never have customers escalate support problems beyond your CS team is unrealistic. However, if you have a growing number of escalations, or you’ve been dealing with a high number all along, this is a sign that your CS team needs additional training and development.
- Help desk reports – Browse your help desk reports. These should provide you with critical insight into problem areas, missing skills, or where knowledge needs to be built. They should also show you other information, such as which types of situations/conversations typically have the slowest response times, which problems are rarely resolved well, and much more.
Use these tips to define where your team is falling short or where opportunities for improvement exist. Once you have that knowledge, you can start creating training programs. Without that information, though, you’re doing little more than throwing potential solutions at the problem and hoping that something sticks.
Build Soft Skills in CS Reps
One of the key reasons for challenges in building strong customer relationships is a lack of soft skills for your customer service representatives. A lot of time is spent on developing the hard skills needed – how to use the CRM, how to use the phone system, and the like. Less time is spent honing the skills need to really do the job.
Part of this is because there is a disconnect between manager expectations and reality. Often, management assumes that just about anyone can deal with customer complaints or answer their questions. On the other hand, there may be an expectation that anyone hired for this type of position will already have the skills and knowledge necessary. Those assumptions can hurt your success in the long run.
Providing soft skills training for your CS reps is always a good idea. Even customer service veterans can learn new things, and this type of training will ensure that your team delivers a great experience every single time. What soft skills are necessary for customer service success, though? Here are some of the most important:
- Ability to accept negative feedback
Deliver the Right Training
All that we have discussed thus far should flow into this step: providing the right training to your people. Note that training needs may vary from customer service team to customer service team. This is particularly true for companies with multiple product or service lines, multiple locations, or multiple audiences.
First, use a modern learning management system (LMS) like eLeaP to deliver your training. Cloud-based platforms offer flexibility and improved engagement, ensuring that your learners can complete training whenever and wherever works for them. Online learning is also well suited for a wide range of training formats, from text-based options to webinars to videos, games, and more. If you lack a modern LMS, now is the time to make this investment – nothing else you do will have the same impact on your customer service training success.
For your CS team to deliver an outstanding experience, they must understand your customers. What are their expectations? What are their challenges and pain points? What are the common reasons for them to choose your company or one of your company’s products or services?
Ideally, you already have an archive of information that can help your team build the understanding required. This could be customer interviews, recorded sales calls, recorded support calls, emails, or something else. The point is to provide them with access to robust information that helps them build an accurate image of what makes your customers tick, and then to identify similarities between customers and themselves. A better understanding of customer motivations, coupled with shared commonalities can help your team make a stronger, more positive connection.
Whether done in person or through your LMS, roleplay is an important tool to help build your team members’ skills. Make sure to allow all CS team members to experience a variety of different roles – customer support, customer, team leader, and more. This variety of perspectives helps build the understanding necessary to deliver great service consistently, as well as building empathy and understanding.
Create an Incredible Customer Service Team
The tips we’ve covered above will help you create a customer service team capable of delivering a great experience at every touchpoint. However, don’t neglect the need for a modern LMS to underpin your training efforts. Contact us for more information about how eLeaP can fit your needs.