Training for Customer Service Excellence

An exclusive and stand out combination of skills, resources, technology and personality characteristics is what makes for an effective customer service representative. However, to get all these factors to work together perfectly, takes time and investing. As a company it would be unrealistic to think that all these aspects will come together on their own to result in customer service excellence. You need to support the mindset through ongoing and effective training else it may cost you dearly in the form of ‘customer attrition’. It is therefore critical for the success of any company that their customer service team or teams is trained and constantly brought up to speed with the ever changing customer needs. No customers, means no business – simple. Giving your customers what they want and going beyond must be the cornerstone of your customer service and this must be learnt through effective customer service training. When you think of yourself as a customer, the truth is that only when you are pleased with service do you stick with a company and give them repeated business. Customer Service Excellence is what makes all the difference – your customers must perceive and feel that they are being served well. As discussed in a previous exposition, retaining customers is much easier than attracting new ones.

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Your customer service team as a whole must be provided the invaluable excellence training. Representatives alone being trained would be of less value than if the managers and supervisors received this training as well. Dealing with stressful situations, a barrage of emotions, difficult customers and highly vexed customers – are not easy to handle and only the requisite training will see your staff through. The supervisors and managers must know how to resolve complexities, motivate their teams, take swift action if a member leaves and all together pack a punch in to every customer interaction. In fact, all members of the organization should receive customer service excellence irrespective of whether they directly deal with external customers. The aim for all should be to retain customers including the internal ones – for example Human Resources must know what the employees need in order for them to remain with the company. Working together as well-oiled machinery is what will greatly enhance your company’s chances of success and growth. Customer Service training builds this capability and supports a culture of togetherness and striving for excellence.

Concerted effort and pointed focus towards mastering of customer service skills reduces conflict and raises the overall standard of your company’s values. When a customer can clearly see these translated in to great service, he or she is more inclined to give you repeat business creating loyalty to your brand. Each customer service team must understand the value of superlative communication and earnestness in managing every customer expectation. Anticipation of customer needs and an understanding of customer behavior is all it takes to go from good to great within the customer service realm. Pertinent training results in your sales team being able to convert queries in to business and customer service excellence ensures that these customers remain happy with you. It is always easier to deal with happy people than with negative, emotionally charged ones. As we said, training must be all pervasive and the top managers must understand the constraints and create an environment of trust and empowerment. Customer service training for this top level will ensure that they are working with the representatives and not against them. Being able to deliver customer service excellence will be achieved only through proper guidance, motivation and a cohesive environment.

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Your customer service team probably has two parts – the sales representatives and the ones that take calls and respond to queries. Both these teams need training on how to interact with the customer even at the most basic level – either through the phone or emails. Building a relationship and rapport almost instantaneously cannot happen without the requisite training. Keeping a scorecard on the difference in responses and response time is an effective way to monitor in which areas the training is working and which areas still are below average. Customer service training is all about a mix of core skills and soft skills – from managing an irate customer to being genuinely empathetic towards the customer. One is incomplete without the other and each member must understand the importance of both.

Let us look at what the training must accomplish in order to raise the bar of your company’s customer service. Effective training should:

• Teach the customer service staff to listen effectively. If a customer is calling, he or she is most certainly in the mind-frame to spell out what he or she wants. Listening patiently and closely usually seals the deal.
• Allow the representative to be able to repeat their understanding of the customer’s need and ask if there is anything they would like to add
• Be able to present the best and most appropriate reply or solution to address the customer’s need.
• Help to differentiate between being able to realistically deliver and promise accordingly
• Handle customer complaints efficiently by first putting the customer at ease
• Understand the escalation matrix and manage the customer’s complaint within that matrix
• Be able to understand the importance of building a connection with customers and understand what makes for great communication
• Connect with customers even over the phone and give them a sense of comfort to ensure repeat business. This will include using appropriate tone, speaking with a smile, managing call holding and transferring time and overall phone etiquette
• Develop a customer focus and deliver better with each customer interaction
• Allow supervisors to motivate and empower their staff better to enhance the level of customer service from good to excellent
• Deliver on promises made within the timeframe specified to raise customer satisfaction levels
• Increase customer satisfaction levels to result in customer loyalty, that is easily measurable through the data collected
• Manage communication and interactions with customers through all channels – phone, email interactive videos and even social media.

Effective and ongoing are the key words when speaking about Training for Customer Service Excellence. With changing trends, technology and demands resting on past training and successes makes for poor business sense. ‘Running to stay in the same place’ is how this can be described as achieving customer satisfaction, customer advocacy and customer engagement are all ongoing activities. Training, development and effective use of training will be the keys to striding ahead towards customer service excellence. Customer service teams must understand and realize the vital and crucial role they play in making the company successful. They must be trained to have a mind-set that is customer centric and aimed at achieving customer loyalty. Training is a must for all members of the company to understand that they play a vital supporting role in achieving customer service excellence and must work together as one team. Training for leaders to understand that great customer service will be the major differentiator in out-running their competition. Many companies may have similar products or services and pricing structures but what sets a company apart will be their ability to consistently deliver superlative standards of customer service. Satisfied and happy customers make for a successful company. Companies that are successful have motivated and high-energy employees who will endeavor to attain even higher standards of customer service. Staff attrition is also reduced keeping the talent and continuity of service intact which proves indispensable in delivering high levels of customer service. As the standards of customer service get better, customer expectations rise making it even more important to constantly train and educate the staff on dealing with the changes. Training helps the staff remain focused, feel wanted and will lower the cost of rectifying errors. Customer Service Excellence is vital – the right training will keep the customer service levels at excellent resulting in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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Interactive Guides for Superior Customer Service

Create interactive decision trees for customer service management, cold call scripts or self-service. Improve sales performance metrics and customer delight across your call centers.

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