Training Customer Service Technical Staff

”Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

Customer Service has now been established as possibly the most indispensable part of any organization and a reflection of its commitment to meeting the needs of customers. Every member of the customer service team – at call centre, managers, supervisors and even the technical staff – must receive ongoing training. Training customer service technical staff is equally vital with training not limited technical skills and know how. For putting together an effective customer service training program, the company must have cognizance of its customer’s needs, demands and expectations. The training must be ongoing, sustained and focused on how to meet and exceed those expectations. Alongside of knowing what the customer needs, it is also important to understand the capabilities and current skill sets of your employees and the existing standard of the customer service being provided. All these criteria put together will help a company assess and prioritize the training to be imparted to their Customer Service staff. We will focus on the customer service technical staff, which hitherto, was thought to only need technical training.

Related Article: How decision tree driven interactive guides help provide training for Customer Service Technical Staff?

There is no doubt that the first and most obvious kind of training would be technical upgrading and acquiring new skills and knowledge. Without a robust technical foundation and understanding, they would not be able to do their job. However, it must be remembered that technical skills cannot suffice if one needs to successfully handle the technical help-desk. Technical staff – working at the desk or in the field – in addition needs excellent communication, interpersonal, organizational, problem-solving and troubleshooting skills. They must be ‘taught’ how to cope with and work under pressure. Even though their job is primarily technical in nature, they would still be dealing with customers and emotions. Customer service technical staff may have exceptional technical know-how, but if they are unable to communicate articulately and have the patience to deal with irate customers, they would not succeed in providing any kind of customer service. Angry, frustrated and impatient customers are unwilling to listen to anything till they are able to vent and receive a patient and empathetic hearing. Only when they are in a reasonable state of mind, can the technical staff use their knowledge to resolve the technical issue. This is how effective all round training for technical customer service staff would be the difference between happy and vexed customers.

Through effective training the technical customer service staff can confidently communicate with the customer. They would be able to use complex decision trees and other troubleshooting methods to quickly ascertain the specific problem and provide the most apt solution. Being able to ask the relevant questions, understand the unsaid word from the customer and answering to all these queries requires a significant level of expertise and without training could prove to be very challenging and frustrating for the staff and customers. How can the technical staff even begin to resolve a problem they cannot comprehend or communicate their understanding to the impatient customers?

The non-technical skills mentioned are also important for the technical customer service staff when dealing with their internal customers – the other employees. One-on-one interactions required people skills and remaining calm when their customers are seemingly impatient. It is important to maintain a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to build and maintain congenial working relationships. All the aspects have a direct bearing on how a staff member is viewed, which in turn has a direct bearing on the staff member’s career prospects. Training for customer service technical staff is no longer about technology training and technical skills training any more. It is a systematic and in-depth understanding of factors which together provide the data required to put together a precise and focused training program.

Related Article: How call center agents use interactive guides instead of call scripts to provide training for Customer Service Technical Staff?

– It is all about the customer and their needs. First and foremost identifying and understanding those needs will help your company understand the level and kind of service the customer expects from every member of your customer service team, technical staff included. Conducting surveys either through email or social media, customer feedback forms and monitoring the number of customer queries and complaints are all means to ascertain how the customer currently views your customer service. Outsourcing the conducting of such surveys is a further assurance to the customer that all the data will be genuine and transparent. Publish these reports on your most used and visible channel or channels.

– Identify and monitor your current staff’s skill sets. Observe how they interact with customers, the kind of feedback received about them and identify their key strengths and improvement areas. For example – a technical staff with excellent technical know-how may get flustered in the presence of a senior leader and be unable to help effectively. Such a person would need communication and confidence building skills training. Monitor the person’s progress after a few training sessions and provide constructive feedback. A customer service technical staff must definitely be able to build a rapport with the customer, just like all other customer service staff. When the customer feels comfortable and can trust the person at the help-desk, they would be more willing to ask for help rather than just deflect.

– It is best that new staff, however experienced, is first effectively trained before expecting them to deliver the standards of customer service your company is known for. Their leaders must spend time with them training them on the job post the training, to monitor if the training has helped and is being effectively executed. Training material, troubleshooting guides, decision tree diagrams – must be made easily accessible to enable the technical staff to cross-reference when in doubt. Overall, all the customer service staff must have a pleasing demeanour and an empathetic outlook coupled with patience, to efficiently manage the customer queries and more importantly handle frustrated and angry customers.

– Customer Service technical staff are expected to be proficient at multi-tasking. Apart from being expected to flawlessly deliver technical know-how, they are also expected to resolve query after query with diligence. Constantly evaluating these proficiency levels and providing feedback is important for the success of the training provided and success of the staff.

The reason we are focusing on technical support staff for specialized customer training is because the customers that call up the technical help-desk are not calling for information. They are making the effort to interact because they are facing an issue due to which they are impatient and frustrated and want to speak with a well-versed and highly trained staff member and not some “blithering dolt” (A friend repeated these and mentioned them as being the exact words of a customer when landing up on a call with an insufficiently trained technical staff).

– The technical help-desk would normally receive a call from customers who are already frustrated since they seem to be having a problem they cannot resolve. Being able to deal patiently with such customers would prevent the customer from becoming angry and the company running the risk of losing them

– The technical staff must be able to ascertain if the customer would understand some amount of technical jargon or whether they need to simplify their way of communicating

– The customer service technical staff must be able to effectively troubleshoot the problem by taking the customer along the troubleshooting path through open ended questions that can be understood and answered easily by the customer

– At all times, the technical support person must remember to remain calm and exhibit unfeigned interest and concern of the customer’s problem. A relaxed customer is more likely to cooperate and be bent towards helping to solve the problem. Remember angry customers are vengeful and would seek ways to punish and get back at the employee and the company at large.

– Effective problem-solving skills will make it easier for the technical staff to enlist the collaboration of the customer to resolve the problem quickly.

All the points above, clearly illustrate that the customer service technical staff are first and foremost customer service providers. Hence only possessing excellent product knowledge and understanding of the technical aspects will not suffice when dealing with customers. Superlative customer service and support will only happen through a healthy combination of all these factors. These are critical skills for any member of the customer service team and serve to form a lasting and positive impression in the minds of current and prospective customers.

Learn about a new approach to better customer service!

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.

Interactive Decision Tree