Your customers keep your business going. As such, your customer service team is critical to the success, failure and profitability of your organization. These employees are responsible for day-to-day interactions and should be notably skilled in keeping customers happy and invested in your services.
Such an important role requires ongoing and efficient training methods. But what should a training program for customer service staffers look like, and what are some best practices to abide by? Let’s take a look at some expert tips for the developing the best customer service skills:
- Define Your Goals: As with any good training program, the best practices in customer service learning and development center largely on strategizing. Organizational leaders must sit down and decide on the goals and outcomes of training practices. What are you trying to accomplish with these sessions? What is the overarching expectation for customer service in your sector? These answers will vary across various industries, but they will largely dictate the structure and approach you will take in your training initiatives. Nail down organizational goals and drivers along with expectations, outcomes and your definition of a successful training push before you even begin drafting your materials.
- Act It Out: Customer service employees are constantly interacting with clientele. Specifically in retail, this one-on-one interaction is a huge driver of sales, explained eLearning Industry contributor Erin Krebs. In training, it is extremely useful to imitate real-life customer service scenarios. For example, training leaders can take on the role of a disgruntled customer and have their new staff members utilize freshly learned skills to diffuse the situation. This can help to adequately prepare your team for these instances when they actually happen on the sales floor. This may function as a great supplement to traditional learning methods as it provides a glimpse into how new staffers would react to tricky situations.
- Showcase Your Brand: Everyone within a given organization should have a firm understanding of a business’ brand and brand values. Excellent customer service training incorporates brand awareness and subsequent advocacy throughout the entire process, noted Krebs. The importance of which increases tenfold in the retail sector. Training curators should make sure to reinforce brand values at every step in order to effectively demonstrate how these values should be embodied in customer interactions.
- Utilize Game-based Learning: Game-based learning has been a buzz term in the learning and development sphere for the past few years – and for good reason. According to a study in The Journal of Personnel Psychology, simulation games used in training increase post-training self-efficacy by 20 percent and declarative knowledge by 11 percent. When creating training materials, leaders should consider including some game-based activities in conjunction with traditional methods. This will not only improve the effectiveness of your training, but will encourage your audience to stay interested and engaged.
- Create A Test: If you knew you were going to be tested on something, wouldn’t you pay better attention? This logic can be applied directly to training sessions. Issue a mini-test or quiz for your employees after every leg of training. This will spur increased focus and potentially better retention of key practices. Additionally, this can help you gauge the effectiveness of every given training component.
- Keep It Fresh: The business world is constantly changing and as a result your training should too. In order to ensure top-notch customer service, employees, new and old, require periodic training. Your training team should hold regular meetings to review emerging best practices, study training outcomes and revise instructional methods accordingly. An investment in customer service training is an investment in the future of your business – one of the only sure-fire investments in this world.
The State of Learning and Development 2016 report is produced in conjunction with InSync Training to find out what are current L&D challenges and what the L&D professionals are planning on implementing in the future. Download your copy here, or register for our webinar.