It’s impossible for a business to place too much of an emphasis on its customers. If your customers are happy, your business will have a better chance of succeeding.
To make sure your business thrives, it’s critical for you to guide your valuable customers through each stage of their journey with your company and help them get amazing results along the way.
However, keeping your customers happy isn’t easy.
If you’re going to keep your customers sweet, you’ll need to build and nourish an amazing customer service team that works around the clock.
But are you investing in the right customer service training for your team?
In this post, we’re going to guide you through the specifics of customer service training. To make you an expert in this subject, we’ll cover the following:
- The definition of customer service training
- The main reasons to invest in customer service training
- Tips for customer service training
- Valuable materials for customer service training
- Companies that excel at customer service training
Let’s get started!
What Is Customer Service Training?
As the name implies, customer service training is any type of activity aimed at teaching employees the knowledge, skills, or techniques they need to deliver effective and efficient customer service.
Customer service training comes in many shapes and sizes. Here are just some of the most common training methods:
- In-person seminars and courses
- Online interactive courses
- Books and training materials
- On-the-job mentorships
A range of factors will influence the training method you choose. Of course, the preferences of your team and your budget will be two of the most prominent.
Why Should You Invest in Customer Service Training?
There are lots of reasons why it makes sense for your business to invest in customer service training. Here are the key rationales:
Improved customer service skills
The most obvious reason to invest in customer service training involves improving the customer service skills of your team members. This tactic will help make your customer service team more effective and efficient. And it will improve their productivity, as well as the results they’re able to achieve for your customers.
More engaged employees
If you’re going to hold onto the best performers in your business, it’s critical for you to make sure they’re engaged and satisfied. One great way to boost employee satisfaction within your team is to invest in high-quality training. This tactic will show your team members that you care about their development and that you want to empower them to succeed.
Increased customer satisfaction
With more skilled and motivated customer service team members, you’re going to experience increased customer satisfaction. And these improved levels of customer satisfaction will allow you to reduce churn, elevate customer retention, and improve the lifetime value of your loyal customers.
Did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one? With a legion of more satisfied customers, you can look forward to enhancing your profits and protecting the bottom line of your business.
Training Tips for Teaching Customer Service
Before we dive into the most valuable training materials for customer service (and some examples of companies that get customer service training just right), let’s outline some general training tips for customer service.
Here are the best practice tips to take your customer service training to the next level:
Make your training interactive.
We all know what it feels like to find ourselves stuck in an uninspired training session. Our attention will quickly falter, and we’ll struggle to stay engaged, which will reduce the effectiveness of the training.
The best customer service training grabs the attention of participants and engages them, in order to get amazing results. If you decide to invest in great customer service training, make sure you use the right delivery method, techniques, and personnel.
One surefire way to boost engagement within your training sessions is to make them interactive. Here are just a few pointers you can use to heighten the level of interactivity in your sessions:
- Speak directly to your audience.
- Use a blend of techniques.
- Make good use of technology
Deliver purposeful training.
Before you host the training session itself, it’s critical for everybody on your team to understand why it’s happening, which goals you’re hoping to achieve, and what each person can do to boost the effectiveness of the session.
If you fail to communicate these critical pieces of data, your participants will be thrown in at the deepend without the information they need. Since this ignorance will add an element of randomness to your session, your team won’t know exactly what they should take from it.
To combat this outcome, make sure you clearly share the goals of your training session. You should articulate them in your invite to the training session, then re-emphasize this important message at the beginning and end of your session.
Create customized training content.
If your training is going to truly resonate with your participants, it’s important for you to create customized training content that speaks directly to them.
Before the session, you should invest an appropriate amount of time into customizing your training. Here are some of the areas you might want to alter to fit your business:
- Branding / look and feel
- Case studies / statistics
- Messaging and tone
If you create a highly customized suite of training content, your team members will undoubtedly be more engaged and ready to learn.
Provide opportunities for your team to practice.
Theory is one thing, but it’s also important to give your team members the chance to put their new skills to use. Since it’s vital for you to incorporate practicality into your training, you should craft a roadmap that includes steps that encourage your team members, compound their learning, and put it to use.
For instance, you might decide to give your attendees new responsibilities after they’ve completed their training. Then you can monitor whether they’ve managed to effectively incorporate their learning.
Assess the impact of your training.
Before you decide to deliver your training, it’s important for you to plan the exact ways you’re going to assess its impact. So you’ll need to outline a number of key metrics, such as:
- Individual results
You’ll also need to plan out the ways you’re going to measure those important metrics. For instance, you might decide to use a blend of the following techniques:
- Data analysis
- One-on-one interviews
- Surveys and other feedback methods
One important step involves assessing the impact of your training. If you accurately gauge this assessment, you’ll be able to determine whether it makes sense to invest in similar customer service training initiatives in the future.
Valuable Customer Service Training Materials
Now we’ve established why customer training is important, as well as some of the tips you should keep in mind throughout the process. So let’s take a look at some of the best training materials you can use.
Ideas, Games, and Exercises for Customer Service Training
If you decide to host your own session to energize and train your team, here are some great ideas for games and exercises:
- Share best practice.
To create some energy in your session, you could challenge your team members to share their own experiences and best practices. To keep things interesting, you could throw a ball around the room from one speaker to the next, and use these talking points for inspiration:
- Great customer service experiences
- Biggest customer service challenges
- Funniest customer service stories
This game will get your team into the habit of sharing their stories with each other and encourage them to learn from these experiences.
- Do some detective work.
Ready to challenge the assumptions of your customer service team? In this exercise, you can break your participants up into groups and ask them to make a small purchase with one of your competitors. Then you can assess this competitor’s customer service offerings.
This exercise is lots of fun, and it encourages your team members to think critically about customer service. Are they delivering excellent service?
- Run roleplaying sessions.
For your more junior staff members, it might be helpful for you to coordinate roleplaying sessions that will sharpen their skills. For instance, if you have a new product or feature, you might want to help them prepare for some of the common issues they’ll face.
These roleplaying sessions are easy to organize, and they can have a positive impact on the overall performance of your team members. They’re also lots of fun and great ways to build team spirit.
- Use suggestions to shape your sessions.
To make sure you choose the right exercises for your customer service training session, you should listen to your employees’ suggestions. Take the time to speak with them and understand their priorities. For instance, you could leave out a suggestion box, in order to make sure your training is relevant.
If you respond to the immediate needs and priorities of your team members, you’ll simultaneously provide them with effective training and show them you truly care.
- Perform call reviews.
The best customer service teams should regularly record calls with customers and use those recordings as opportunities to reflect and improve. You could regularly go through call reviews with your team members and use them as opportunities for everyone to improve.
This exercise is often an exciting, engaging way for your team members to encourage reflection.
Valuable Customer Service Training Programs Your Team Should Use
Looking for a proven program you can use to deliver outstanding customer service training? Here’s a look at some of the most valuable programs…
Culture of Services: New Perspective on Customer Relations – edX
This customer service course from edX is a great option if you’re looking to teach your team members about the difficult dynamics of customer service. Over the course of eight weeks, your participants will learn to cocreate value during extended customer interactions.
Customer Service Advantage – Bonfire Training
This customer service program from Bonfire Training gives your team members the opportunity to improve their overall performance while they focus on six specific skills that will create desired customer experiences. This course has dubbed itself a “mission critical” next step after your team members have mastered the basics of customer service.
A+ Customer Care – WorkLifeBalance
If your customer service representatives need to improve their ability to identify and resolve customer needs, this course from WorkLifeBlanace is a great option. It’s available both online and offline, depending on your preferences and availability.
Call Center Customer Service – Universal Class
If you’re looking for an accredited class that acts as the perfect introduction to working in a call center, this course from Universal Class is a great starting point. It covers all of the skills your team members need to achieve customer service success, and it lasts for about six months.
Support Professional Training – Service Strategies
This customer service course from Service Strategies focuses on the resolution of technical problems while maintaining impeccable customer service skills. If you offer a technical product and need your customer service team to consistently bring their A-game, this blended option is a great choice.
Customer Service Training Videos
Looking to deliver a quick hit and inspire your team members with an awesome customer service training video? Here are some of the best options:
The L.A.S.T. Method
When it comes to conflict resolution, does your customer service team need a helping hand? The Listen, Apologize, Solve, and Thank (L.A.S.T.) method can help your team members adopt a proven system to resolve customer issues.
Customer Service vs Customer Experience
Since Customer Service and Customer Experience are often conflated in many businesses, do you need to set some boundaries? This course is a great overview of the ways these two areas can greatly vary.
What Is Customer Service?
If you have a new junior staff member, you might want to give him or her a crash course in customer service. This video guide takes the viewer through the seven essentials of excellent customer service, so it will provide this team member with a great foundation:
Why Customer Service Is the Best Form of Marketing
Hoping to contextualize the important role that your customer service team plays in your business? This TEDx talk from John Boccuzzi explains why customer service has the potential to be the greatest form of marketing for brands.
Companies That Excel at Customer Service Training
Wondering what great customer service training looks like? Here’s a look at some of the companies that truly excel at delivering amazing training in this arena.
Zappos Customer Service Training
Zappos is an online shoe and clothing retailer that’s based in the United States. This company was founded back in 1999, and it has grown to become worth over a whopping $2 billion.
As you can see from the core values (and its customer service philosophy) of the brand, it places a strong emphasis on putting customers first. Its focus on “delivering WOW through service” means that its brand connects with its customers across a number of channels.
The company also offers “Zappos Insights.” This training arm of the business helps other companies learn from this customer service leader. If you check out Zappos Insights, you’ll see that this company delivers excellent service by developing core values and focusing on story-worthy experiences.
Disney Customer Service Training
Disney is renowned for its ability to connect with customers and create strong emotional relationships. This gigantic company achieves this goal by focusing on the details of customer interactions.
The Disney Institute also offers customer service training to other companies that are looking to improve their customer service offerings. This training is based on operational practices created over the past 60 years, and it emphasizes the importance of focusing on details.
Specifically, the training offered by The Disney Institute focuses on helping businesses:
- Assess their commitment to quality customer service.
- Use customer service to differentiate themselves.
- Gauge the needs, wants, stereotypes, and emotions of customers on individual levels.
This training also goes into more depth, in order for businesses to take their operations to the next level.
Starbucks Customer Service Training
Starbucks doesn’t just sell coffee. It also sells incredible customer service that makes guests feel special. But this outcome isn’t just a happy accident. In fact, the company has invested a significant amount of money into training its employees in emotional intelligence.
According to Values Driven Results, Starbucks uses the LATTE method to train its employees (alongside a host of other frameworks). Here’s what this acronym stands for:
- Acknowledge complaints
- Take action
- Thank the customer
- Explain why the problem occurred
Perhaps you’d like to take inspiration from Starbucks and create your own winning customer service frameworks, in order to guide your team to success.
We hope that this guide to customer service training has been helpful to you. If you use the tips and resources in this piece, you’ll be sure to get some great training results for your team members!
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