“Training helps teach the vision and mission, but employees must put the training into action for it to have meaning.” – Shep Hyken
Much is said all the time about the importance of customer service and its potential to boost sales and profits because of elevated customer satisfaction levels. Customer service is also the surest way to mould customer behavior in favor of the company, encouraging customers to buy more and spread the positive word of mouth to others. Despite these obvious and long-term benefits, many companies often overlook this realm, which in turn means that customer service training plays second fiddle. Companies pump resources into training that would revolve around sales and marketing since making a profit would be all-important. What companies seem to forget is that customer service encompasses all the aspects of the business – activities before, during, and an after a customer makes a purchase. For these reasons, customer service training can prove to be a highly beneficial investment, as its essence would be to enhance the way a business serves the section of people who bring in money and are the reason for profits and success.
There is no company today, for which customer service would not be important – the intensity of service could differ depending on the industry, offerings, company business, and the customer base. Even then, there would always be scope for improvement – especially because customer needs and personalities continue to change and evolve, and without adequate customer service training, the representatives would be ill equipped to provide assistance to the varying needs and personalities. From the company’s perspective, among the top benefits of customer service training is that would ensure that the service representatives consistently reflect and display its core values, adhere to the culture, and keep the ultimately goals of the company in mind. The fact is that customer service is not an easy job, especially since service representatives have several tasks within their role. Not only must they strike a healthy balance between customer needs and company goals, but they are expected also to act as confidantes, have product information, details of delivery status, and several other major and minute details with regard to the company. Customers have very little patience today, and can be quite unforgiving of delays, lapses, and even service staff that seems ill equipped to handle their queries. Customer service training is therefore extremely important and indispensable to a company’s success.
To gain the maximum benefits of customer service training, a company would need to change its approach and outlook towards this activity. Customer service training must be viewed as a method to achieve overall efficient and systematic improvement of the company, with the aim of generating more revenue and a higher profit margin. Research shows that 70% of buying takes place based on the customer’s perceptions of the company’s treatment of and behavior towards them. It is only through top class service that a company can address the customer’s needs, alleviate their problems, and ensure speedy service recovery in the event of a service lapse. Irrespective of the quality your employees, or superlative offerings, the top requirement of customers is to be treated with courtesy and respect. Customers remember the interactions, long after they would have no use of the company’s products. Most customers walk away silently and never return if they receive shoddy service, whilst others not only make their displeasure known to the company, but also spread negative word of mouth through every channel of communication available to them. It is the onus of a company to get closer to their customers, through the employees, who in turn must provide elevated levels of service – possible only through consistent and relevant customer service training.
“Customer service is not a department. It’s a philosophy to be embraced by everyone in an organization. Everyone plays their part in contributing to a customer’s experience” – Shep Hyken. Using this quote as an example and inspiration, it is obvious then that service must be an essential part of everyone’s job and responsibility area. It would be impossible for the service teams to provide top class service if all departments and employees therein were not aligned towards the cause of customer service. For a company to sustain its business, remain successful in the long term, and build robust relationships with customers, good customer service is essential. It is becomes crucial therefore, for companies to consistently provide customer service training for all the employees.
Through effective and regular training, service representatives would understand the criticality and crucial nature of their role. They would remain aware of the kind of service their company aims to provide to customers, and constantly endeavor to match the expectations. Relevant customer service training helps employees understand the mission and long-term vision of the company, and their role in achieving the same, while contributing to their own success. In addition, relevant training provides service representatives with the opportunity to develop their skills of handling customer complaints and forging emotional connections with them. As mentioned, customers are becoming less tolerant of service representatives who fail to resolve their problems or give them suitable responses to their queries. Customers are of all types – and it takes skillful handling to manage their varying personalities and emotions, without offending and adding to their frustration. Customer service training empowers the representatives through knowledge and skill to make appropriate and swift decisions, required to resolve all kinds of queries and complaints.
There is absolutely no doubt that customer service is a tough job, and in order to do it well on a sustained basis, a company must afford as much support possible to the employees directly responsible for this role. Customer service training helps the service employees to become adept at pre-empting customer queries, and in understanding their expectations. This in turn ensures that they are less likely to be caught unawares when faced with an unusually tough customer / situation, and would be ready to handle anything. Service training teaches employees to remain calm when faced with irate customers, and seemingly harsh complaints. Employees would understand that the customer’s frustration is not directed at them personally, and hence they would refrain from becoming defensive and rude. Empathy and patience are virtues, however, in customer service they are also skills that each service employee must possess and display. Handling customers with empathy and patience would make even the angriest customer amenable to listening calmly to the suggestions offered by the staff.
In today’s business world, no company and business can work and succeed in a vacuum. Everyone needs the support of their customers, employees, and other business associates in order to realize their goals and objectives. One of the top ways to insure success is by improving the quality of service to customers, achievable through regular and relevant customer service training. The fact is that today businesses can no longer compete on products, services, and even low prices. They need a USP – something that will make them stand out and appear unique – this today would be top class customer experiences made possible through service excellence. Providing exemplary service will provide the critical to success individuality for a company, and such service can only happen through exemplary service representatives who would need regular customer service training to keep their skills and knowledge updated and matched to the expectations of customers.
Upgrading skills and knowledge should be a never-ending process and especially in the case of service representatives, customer service training can deliver huge advantages, both the company, and its customers. If your company still neglects customer service training, you may as well shut shop now.