Essential Components Of An Effective Customer Service Training Plan
Customer service has evolved as one of the leading differentiators which consumers consider before making a purchase. Recent research suggests that providing excellent customer experiences will be even more important than cost by the year 2021.
Many organizations are unaware that there are problems with their customer service. It was recently found that 80% of organizations think they provide superior customer service. The shocking part is that only 8% of their customers felt the same way.
Creating an effective customer service training plan will ensure that every employee at the workplace has the ability to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations. Unfortunately, not every customer service training plan is effective. There are some basic components every customer service training plan should include to maximize its impact.
Crucial Customer Service Training Skills
Every employee needs a basic level of customer service training, irrespective of their working experience. Although the depth of knowledge and training that they need varies depending on the role of each employee, there are 3 basic types of skills you need to include in your training plan.
1. Product Knowledge
It is essential that all employees have a deep working knowledge of the organization’s offerings. Today’s customers can look up basic information about products and services on their own. Employees need to not only know the details of the products but how they specifically fulfill different customers’ needs. As customers are getting intelligent with every passing minute, product knowledge has become a critical element of the corporate training spectrum. Businesses have understood that they need to educate team members with full-proof product knowledge in order to create lasting Customer Experiences.
2. Soft Skills
Soft skills will help your employees better communicate with customers. For any customer service team, it is imperative to indulge in programs that only strengthen their technical skills, but also enhances their soft skills, especially communication. The better teams are able to communicate with the customer, the more satisfied is the client at the end of the process. Incorporating soft skills building programs in the training curriculum shows that the organization is not just focused on making sales but is willing to invest in giving great customer service. Some common soft skills you should consider including in your training are:
- Active listening
- Clear communication
- Positive language
73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service representatives. Ensuring that each employee has the skills necessary to communicate effectively will greatly improve customer relationships and help promote brand loyalty among your customers.
3. Company Mission And Values
Every employee should have a deep understanding of the company’s mission and values. It is important for a business to educate their employees on what it aims to achieve in the coming time. Not only does this give a direction to the mission, but it also makes the workforce feel valued, encouraging them to propel in the given direction with much passion. No different is the case with customer service teams. As they form the first level of interaction with customers, they need to embody the company’s mission and vision into their conversation so that the same information can be projected to your customers.
Each of these skills plays an important role in making an effective customer service training program. Placing each of these skills into a plan using blended learning is another essential part of effective customer service training. When done well, these skills can form the backbone of impressive customer service. Not only incorporating these skills is great from a good customer service training perspective, but it also allows your workforce to grow and contribute to the organization’s growth.
Training content is more effective when it is integrated into a blended training program that uses multiple training methods to engage learners. The 70:20:10 framework is a model that suggests that people best learn when 70% of the training is experiential, 20% is social and 10% is focused on formal training. Being one of the most effective ways of retaining knowledge, the 70:20:10 framework allows learners to acquire new skills and explains its impact on your Learning and Development strategy.
Experiential training methods are usually on-the-job, or based on gaining experience, and include the following:
- Simulation lets employees work through real-life scenarios in a risk-free environment.
- Job aids include posters, pamphlets or mobile PDFs employees can reference right when they need them.
Social training methods focus on learning with others and include:
- Lunch and Learn, which is a more traditional form of training where groups interact and work together during a lunch event.
- Mentorship Programs that provide employees with a mentor or peer they can work with and ask questions is an incredibly useful tool.
- Role-playing is where two employees take turns working through different customer situations together to practice their skills.
Formal training methods tend to be more traditional and include the following:
- Instructor-Led Training is a training session led by an instructor mostly in a classroom setting.
- eLearning or online learning is becoming a more common form of training.
- Mobile learning is much like eLearning, which allows learners to leverage learning on-the-go through mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
- Videos are a useful and engaging tool as they are short, to-the-point and explicit in nature.
Experiential, social and formal training methods are all useful, but the most effective customer service training programs use blended learning and the 70:20:10 framework. These can be utilized to create a program that uses multiple training methods to engage employees and assist them in retaining knowledge. Although every training method listed is effective, scenario-based learning has some significant benefits you should know about.
Scenario-based learning has some additional benefits that will help increase the effectiveness and impact of your training program. Simulations are the most common form of scenario-based learning. They are similar to role-playing but are carried out on a digital platform.
Simulations greatly increase engagement and knowledge retention rates. The use of storytelling makes the content relatable and easy to understand. They engage the learner’s emotions which triggers both long- and short-term memory making the content easier to remember. This also allows for knowledge application. After practicing a skill during simulation, employees are more likely to practice it in real-life situations than other kinds of training.
Additional benefits include instant feedback and the ability to track the progress of employees. Simulations provide accurate feedback so employees will know if they need to change or improve something right away. The feedback is also unbiased because it is automated. Tracking employee progress provides the opportunity to find patterns or areas where they may be struggling with.
Delivering memorable customer service is the aim of every organization, but very few eventually reach there. One of the prime reasons is the lack of a program that can train their customer service teams with the right skills. Organizations that have implemented a customer service program already, can also sometimes get caught in tough situations with difficult customers. This does not mean that their training program lacks any component, but it can work as feedback to incorporate additional elements into their plan.
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