Customer service can make or break a buyer’s experience and is a key element of maintaining a high customer retention rate.
Therefore, it’s essential that your company delivers unified, quality customer service across all forefronts of your company. In order to do this, you need to have a strong customer service training program set in place for employees.
If you don’t know how to develop a customer service training program, don’t worry. We’ve put together a list of the top seven things you need to include.
How To Develop a Customer Service Training Program
In order to develop a fully fleshed out, comprehensive customer service training program, you should implement multiple means of education for your team. Different aspects of training will be useful for different sets of employees.
For example, new hires will likely go through an initial training program, while existing employees will participate in refresher courses each year.
Assigning a Mentor
This is a good option for new hires and individuals who may be struggling with their customer service skills.
Assigning a mentor to your employees will provide positive guidance and allow them to have a friendly leader to turn to when they need advice in a sticky situation.
This is another great option for new hires. Job shadowing will help new employees get the lay of the land and obtain a better understanding of how your company operates and speaks to its customers.
It’s an effective method for allowing newbies to get hands-on experience in customer support situations before they have to dive in and manage similar issues on their own.
This is an effective method for employees at all stages, whether they're new hires or seniors. Customer service training videos can be used again and again, providing valuable education with very little effort after initial creation.
You can use videos to cover a wide variety of topics, including common customer support situations that employees might need advice or guidance on, or how to handle a company crisis.
Traditional presentations are also an effective means to providing customer support training, and they're especially useful when doing team building exercises.
Incorporating interactive exercises for employees to participate in throughout the presentation is a great way to implement impactful, active learning.
7 Essentials to Include in Your Customer Service Training
In order for your customer service training program to be successful and effective, it will need to incorporate a multitude of different elements. Customer service is a complicated industry, and providers need a wide skill set to be able to do their job well.
Your training program will need to be well rounded in order to teach employees the necessary skills for success; therefore every element listed below should be included in your program.
Lacking one of these essential factors could ultimately be the downfall of your team’s ability to provide quality customer service to your clients – and you don't want that!
The ability to express empathy is a crucial skill for positive customer service. Your team should be able to understand a customer’s frustrations and relate to them.
When a service provider expresses empathy, it makes the customer feel understood and valued, which makes for a much more positive experience.
In order to train your team to harbor and express empathy, encourage them to put themselves in the customer's shoes – it will help them better understand the customer's frustrations, and react to them in a more compassionate manner.
2. Product Knowledge
Having expert knowledge of your products and services is perhaps the most basic of the essential skills necessary for providing quality customer support.
If a team member can’t answer a customer’s questions about the features of a product, then they’ll be unhelpful and will quickly frustrate the customer.
Education about the details of all your products and services should be at the base of your customer service training program. You should also provide every employee with a product guide that they can refer back to at any time.
3. Active Listening and Communication
Yet another crucial skill for providing good customer service, active listening and communication shape a customer’s entire experience with your support team.
There’s nothing customers hate more than a passive attitude from a service provider. Train your team to be engaged in conversations with customers by instructing them to ask the right questions and summarize information back to the customer.
The customer needs to feel like the service provider genuinely cares about the situation at hand; otherwise they’ll likely walk away more frustrated than when they arrived.
4. Company Vision and Values
As representative of your company who directly interacts with your customers, all of your support providers should communicate in a way that is synonymous with your brand and company vision. If your employees act poorly towards your customers, it reflects badly on your business.
Make sure you cover the company’s core values within your training program so employees know how to behave within those important guidelines at all times.
For example, here at Bluleadz one of our core values is "treat everyone with respect, honesty, and consideration." Our employees take this to heart and always communicate with each other and our clients in a way that honors this core value. We are always honest and transparent with our clients, and treat them with the utmost respect and consideration, no matter the situation.
5. Crisis Management
Customer service providers need to be graceful under pressure. They are often forced to manage high-stress situations and mediate irate customers, so they need to have patience, confidence, and the ability to resolve complicated challenges.
Make sure that your team is prepared to handle the worst situations, like recalls or company emergencies. If you guide your employees through the steps they need to take when an unexpected crisis arises, they’ll be prepared to handle almost any situation.
Customer service can be a tough industry to work in, as support providers are often dealing with irate, complaining customers all day.
It’s important to include self-care training in your program, so your employees can positively handle the stress factors that come with their job. Encourage them to incorporate healthy relaxation practices like meditation or yoga into their daily routine.
7. Team Building
This isn’t so much a “training” exercise to include in your program, but it’s a good idea to implement team building practices into your work environment.
Company culture makes a big impact in employee work experiences, and encouraging camaraderie among your team will greatly improve their happiness and thus, their performance.
Your service members will likely need to work together to come up with a solution to some problems. Additionally, positive support provided by fellow team members is uplifting and relaxing.
Organization Is Key
Developing a well-rounded customer training program will be a long process. In order to cover all your bases, you'll have to be thorough and methodical. Your program should include a mix of video, interactive exercises, mentorships, and management presentations.
Throughout this process, make sure that you organize the program efficiently – covering the most basic skill sets first, before diving into more advanced skills like crisis management. This will allow your employees to fully digest information on their path to becoming an excellent service provider.