Creating Customer Service Magic through Effective Training

“You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied” – Jerry Fritz

A simple yet powerful quote that suitably describes the importance of focusing on keeping your customer service head and shoulders above competition and creating a magical impact on your customers. An exceptional and memorable customer experience can make customers feel wanted, create trust, generate higher revenue and lead to customer loyalty. Creating Customer Service Magic through Effective Training is the need of the hour if your business needs to forge ahead and stay ahead. In a bit to beat competition, a number of companies do make false claims especially with regard to their customer service but with time customers are able to see through this farce. The glaring gaps between the actual service and the promises are shocking enough for customers to leave and never return. Get real, keep true and deliver on what you promise! Keep your customer service sharpened and cutting edge by consistent training for the representatives.

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[img src=”×150.png” width=”250″ height=”170″ align=”right”] Delivering customer service that is impeccable and effortless requires time and investment in the form of structured and properly delivered class room training. Review your internal processes and service lapses to provide the best possible training for your customer service team. Here’s what you can do:

– The lapses that you discover in the delivery of great customer service would most likely be due the absence of a fixed budget to cover service training and the development of the associates. If the management lacks focus on this invaluable facet of the organization, the customer service representatives cannot be held responsible for service gaps and passable customer service. Your representatives must be able to service your customers out of a sense of commitment and be passionate in what they do. These characteristics must be ingrained and reinforced constantly through pertinent training both on hard and soft skills. Training also increases knowledge and skill making it easier for the representatives to do their job, which leads to heightened excitement for the job. Trained representatives are known to contribute more willingly and enthusiastically as opposed to unskilled and untrained staff.

– The department responsible to conducting training or arranging out-sourced training must evaluate individual training needs and create programs around them. They must not expect that a fresher will know what a general statement like “show care for your customer”. It’s important to train the representative to know what care would mean in the context of dealing with a customer. The precedent standards set by your company for customer care and the knowledge of the values of your company, everything needs to be clearly stated and taught. Consistent training on these aspects will position your customer service representatives to take charge and deliver ‘magical levels of customer service.’

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– Positive results of training can only be claimed if after a period of time your customer service representatives are able to display – enhanced listening skills, diligent attention to detail, be able to deliver seamlessly, communicate effectively in any language, display enthusiasm and professionalism in their dealings, be able to show the customer they truly care and can be trusted, all together will show dramatic increases in positive feedback from customers. All these put together will enhance customer satisfaction leading to loyalty. This places your company in the driver’s seat when it comes to driving customer behavior.

– Although training needs and programs will differ in their content, it is imperative to have some sections that drive home a common theme. This common theme will run through your organization such everyone is speaking the same language and presenting one face to the customer. The underlying message of commitment to making each customer experience happy and memorable.

– Customer service training must not only be for the customer service representatives. A broader scope of training programs designed to inculcate the culture that each person in the organization is a customer for the next. Broaden perspective and attitudes to make a shift in behavior. When these internal relationships and mind-sets have been set, it would be easier for all to understand what creating elevated levels of customer service means and how to deliver it. Customers will be able to see your commitment to provide service excellence irrespective of who they speak with in the company.

– Customers are not expected to understand or even be willing to give second chances. One great communication is never enough to build trust but one failed service is enough to break the trust. The customer service representatives need to be trained that every time they communicate with a customer, they are carrying the impression of the company. How they service the customer will either speak highly or speak ill of the company. However, just being mindful of communicating well is not enough – creating a positive lasting impression is what the customer is looking for. This is what will make the company profitable and gain trust and loyalty from a larger base of customers.

– The soft skills training are equally important as knowledge of the product or service. Most often the customer interaction is not in person but rather through a medium, largely through telephone calls. Customer service representatives must be taught how to convey their pleasure in serving their customer through their words, tone and by smiling. It is possible to ‘see’ a smile on the phone too! By displaying politeness through their initial greeting, they could win half the battle especially if there is a vexed customer calling. The ability to express unfeigned concern and empathy cannot be possible without the right ongoing training and practice. When a customer cannot see your facial expressions it is tougher to convince them of anything other than what they want to believe. Being patient and calm in the face of the worst criticism is again a function of proper training that must be consistent and focused. Allow the representatives to practice this internally during mock call sessions, but that which will screen their actual competence in real life situations.

– Even concerted effort and training may not lead to the results that are hoped for. The reasons could be many – customers are still viewing you from the last negative impression you left on them, the representatives are unable to convey effectively the empathy and care that the customer seeks, some representatives probably don’t really care of delivering this service or have not understood the importance and repercussions of the same. Stricter controls and attitudinal based training would be required to get these representatives on the same level as others. In the unfortunate event, that the representatives are still not up to speed, it would be best to shift them to a different department or let them leave the company.

– After rounds of pointed training are done, the customer service representative must be given ample leeway and discretion to apply these trainings to practical situations. They must be asked to take ownership of the interactions which will make them accountable for any outcome. Provide feedback on their performance and publicly applaud consistent great performance.

The key to effective training is that it must have buy-in and should be interactive to include the viewpoints of the participants as well. Role playing, games, realistic situations – produce better results as they allow the participants to take part in the training rather than being talked at. Each participant must be encouraged to speak and provide views – this is in turn facilitates enhancing of interpersonal and communication skills. Customer service training requires commitment of time, resources and the support of management to produce the desired results. Companies that invest these resources and show this commitment are the one who will stand tall through excellent customer service. Customer service representatives are important to your company and supporting them not only shows respect for them but serves the larger goal of sustained business growth through customer loyalty. Make superior customer service a habit and see how it magically transforms the face and fortune of your company.

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