The impact of customer service on business revenues cannot be overstated. According to one study, businesses in the United States lose as much as $41 billion each year just to poor customer service. A lot of this has to do with inadequate employee training. Untrained employees lack the knowledge and skills that are necessary to deal with customers. In this article, we will take a look at the best practices that will help an organization train its customer-facing staff to deliver great service.
Hire the right candidates
Great customer service can be taught. But certain aspects of the job require traits that are innate to one’s personality. Empathetic employees are more willing to lend an ear to a customer’s complaint, no matter how trivial it might seem. Employees also need to have the right temperament and attitude to not lose their cool while dealing with irate customers. It is very important to test your job applicants on their empathy quotient (EQ) and emotional intelligence (EI) during the interview process.
A well-trained staff is not only expected to be thoroughly informed about your product offerings, warranty details and other frequently requested business information, but is also expected to quickly and efficiently retrieve other details that a customer demands. Training your employees on this aspect is a two-pronged process.
Onboarding: The onboarding process entails bringing your new employees up to speed on the various aspects of your business. A learning management system (LMS) helps an employer organize their business details into discrete chapters that new recruits may learn and be evaluated upon. The onboarding process should not only delve into the product or service aspects of your business, but should also train the employee about your organizational culture and the soft skills necessary to execute their responsibilities. It is important to pick an LMS that fits your business requirements. For instance, a geographically distributed workforce will need features like conferencing while this is not required for a standalone unit. You can find a list of the popular LMS tools here.
Knowledge base: The second part of the process is to train your staff to make use of the available tools to quickly retrieve the needed information. Product details like pricing, discounts and coupons change all the time and a constantly updated knowledge base makes these details available to both the customer and the servicing staff at the click of a button.Owning a knowledge base that is also integrated with your organization’s customer support software is handy since it makes it possible for your servicing staff to quickly access similar issues in the past and find a resolution for your customer queries. You may find a list of knowledge base tools here.
Shadowing senior staff
Most of the training imparted to your employees until now is theoretical in nature and may prove to be inadequate on the job. The final step of the training process is to get your new recruits to shadow your high performers while they tackle customer requests in real-time. This is a critical component of the training process that enables your new workers to apply their innate soft skills and the knowledge acquired through the training process in real-life scenarios.
In addition to the steps mentioned above, it is also important that your organization conducts periodic assessment of your employees in customer-facing roles. This way, it is possible to identify areas of improvement in both knowledge management and your employees’ soft skills. It is also a good idea to bring in third party consultants who can audit your business practices to advise you on process improvements. The success of any business depends significantly on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Investing in sophisticated training practices go a long way in ensuring top notch customer service and subsequently, a growth of your top line.