Customer service training
Any employee who interacts with a customer - either an internal customer or external - is a candidate for customer service training. In addition to customer service representatives, this includes other positions such as receptionists, technical support representatives, field service technicians, sales engineers, shopkeepers, waiters, etc.
Course content typically includes greeting the customer (either by phone or in person), questioning to understand the customer’s need or problem, listening, confirming understanding, responding with value, using positive language, eliminating jargon, concluding the phone or face-to-face interaction, dealing with angry customers, and the importance of body language and tone of voice.
Customer service classes can be taught in a traditional classroom setting with workbooks or DVD and a trainer, through various methods of e-learning (web based training), or a blend (blended learning) of the two.
An advantage of classroom training, whether traditional or the synchronous form of blended learning, is that participants can discuss best-practices with each other and build a solid team foundation. Drawbacks include work-force management when scheduling a large number of people off the job at one time, and the cost of travel if participants need to travel to the training location.
A main advantage of e-learning is that participants can be scheduled for training in a staggered fashion to allow for job coverage. Another is that participants can work at their own pace and take whatever time is needed in order to develop a thorough understanding of the content. A drawback of e-learning is that without management oversight, there may not be a satisfactory completion rate. Another is that without practice of new skills, learning may degrade quickly.
Benefits of Customer Service Training
There are several benefit that accrue to an organization when employees are trained in customer service skills:
Employees who are properly trained and who demonstrate professional customer service skills can improve customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. This, in turn, helps the business retain customers and improve profits as it costs less to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. In addition, customers who are pleased are more open to additional sales messages and are more likely to refer others as potential customers.
Employing good listening skills and questioning techniques can shorten the interaction time with customers. This allows an organization to serve more customers in less time, possibly with fewer staff.
Being able to clearly explain next steps in a process and confirming that the customer is satisfied will decrease the number of callbacks or return customers. Research has shown that improving first contact resolution is one of the primary drivers of customer satisfaction.
Teaching the same customer service skills to all personnel allows them to have a common process and language for dealing with customers. This allows business to brand the interaction and make excellent service part of their offering to the customer, thereby adding value.
Investing in employees through training makes employees feel valued and improves motivation. In addition, when employees treat customers well by using proper customer service skills, they are more likely to be treated well in return. Both these factors can help to increase employee loyalty and reduce turnover, thereby lowering costs.
- The Connecticut WIC Program developed this flexible, interactive module with downloadable .Doc forms for training purposes.
- The Connecticut WIC Program developed these training tools, as well.
- Business Training Works developed free customer service teaching activities in .PDF format for training purposes.
- Welcome to Excellence lists many different types of customer service training and provides videos on the benefits to employers.
- Here are useful customer service resources and reading from Davis-Mayo Associates.