Customer service training
The characteristics of a good customer service training programme
Before selecting a customer service training course or chosing a training supplier it is important to establish what characteristics of a customer service training plan are essentials for you. Once these are accepted by the organisation’s senior management it becomes easier to select courses and providers against your own yardstick. They are many types of customer service training so it is useful to ask who the attendees are going to be and what is expected of the course.
Who should attend a customer service training programme?
To maximise the benefit of a customer service initiative for a company or an organisation, managers, supervisors, executives, operators and agents should all undertake training.
Typical customer service training modules
There are many different forms of training available for your customer service executives and it can sometimes be difficult to chose given the vast array of options available. In order to assist we have brought together a list of the kind of customer service training which might be readily available. They have been grouped under a number to topic suggestions to make it easier for you to navigate and come up with a course and range of course which may address your special requirements. Many providers would be very happy to put in place a tailored programme.
Handling difficult phone calls: this would enable customer service agents to identify the emerging signs of a difficult phone call, remain level-headed throughout and able to handle the answer to the client, it being by taking action immediately or by referring the call to a more senior or more qualified member of staff.
Conflict management training: provides tools and techniques for employees to deal with irrate or agressive customers and service users. Would include the recognition of a conflict situation and its management.
Use of Virtual Agents: How virtual agents can be deployed to assist the sales process and resolve queries from customers as they arise.
Customer communication training:
Set of learning techniques for developing effective communication with customers. Customer service training courses could comprise:
Managing information for customers: this becomes especially critical in times of crisis or issues affecting a large number of people in industries such as travel and financial services but also manufacturing and food industry in case of product recalls for example.
Designing a customer service website: must include how to prepare a well-thought through FAQ list
Social media training
Be prepared for the potential customer service onslaught coming from social media channels. Typical course can include:
Handling social media customer service: it is critical that employees who are asked to handle the key social media channels are specifically trained to the specificities of social media customer service.
Managing customer service community: self-help communities and forum are growing in importance across many sectors. Many originated in the IT and technology sectors but they are now spreading to the mobile phone industry, broadband, computer games and many others. A key component of a successful community is the way super-users are ebing handled. They solve many problems on behalf of the company and their status should be thought through carefully.
Important that the customer service angle is thought through at the early stage of the sales process ie during the marketing phase. A programme could cover topics such as:
Products and services support: an extremely important step in order to ensure long term customer satisfaction. It is critical that sales representatives are trained in order to offer to customers the best service or products for them. Otherwise their is an heightened risk of returns or service assistance queries as clients struggle to make the service work for them.
Designing product litterature
Leading and motivating team members
The benefits of customer service training
The benefits of customer service training are multiple. We can name a few here:
– Trained employees are able to perform better, thereby resolving customer queries faster and better which in turn increases the level of job satisfaction. Happy employees will perform much better in terms of customer service if only by displaying a positive attitude.
– Organisations which have adopted an in-depth customer service training programme develop a customer-orientated culture which contributes to better customer satisfaction.
– A broad based customer service training programme will ensure a consistent approach across the organisation. Irrespective of which channel they use to obtain customer service (email, phone, face to face, social media) customers will be treated in the same way and therefore feel that the organisation overall cares about them.
– Employees who have been trained provide an all-round better experience for customers which can result in higher volume of recommendations, better customer reviews and increased customer loyalty.
Providers of customer service training
There ar numerous providers of customer service training. As a starting point, one could usefully join the Customer Service Training Network Group on LinkedIn and ask some of their members for advice on providers. The group can be found on http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2152365
Further information sources about customer service training
- The Howto.gov US website is full of resources to help gouvernment agencies deliver a great customer service experience. Visitors to the website can find dates for scheduled training programmes, communities, best practice papers, tools for developing a customer service plan, methodologies and guidelines. It is a very valuable website for self-taught customer service professionals – As an example, for more information on a given course a useful read is: http://www.howto.gov/training/classes/best-practices-for-implementing-customer-service