How To Train A College Graduate In Customer Service


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College graduates looking for easy work that can provide them with a source of income during their downtime or to supplement their payments for the future of their academic career are the ideal candidates for handling customer service jobs. In fact, a decent proportion of college grads probably have a fair degree of calling experience if they’ve ever worked a university telephone job reaching out to an alumni network to find potential donors.

So, how can you find and train college graduates efficiently and effectively to serve a number of customer service roles? To begin, you’ll want to take evaluative approach to the issue, getting a sense of the relative level of experience for each college graduate and assigning them the appropriate training materials based on their existing knowledge. For instance, you might designate beginner, intermediate, and experienced schedules of training, with increasingly less training for individuals that have demonstrated a familiarity and competence or who have a history with customer service skills already.

In any case, let’s take a look at the current function of customer service roles and see how a college graduate fits into the workforce.

Understand the Changing Nature of Customer Service

It’s no hidden fact that the information economy brought about by the prevalence of smartphones and the Internet has revolutionized many service sectors. However, because this trend has not been explicitly shown, it is easy for confusion to arise regarding the nature of customer service. To clear up this confusion, take a look at this chart that details the transitory foci of the customer service field.

It is clear from this chart that customer service as a field is experiencing an added degree of complexity as a result of the rising interconnectedness of the world. Notably, automation seems to be culling a fair degree of the monotonous organizational procedures, helping individuals reach the appropriate departments that can answer their questions faster and allowing humans more time to deal with complex issues. Any employee going into customer support should understand these changes and approach their job bearing these renewed expectations from this field in mind.

Cultivate a Basic Skill Set for Dealing with Customers

After orienting new employees on what the actual role of a customer service representative implies, your next step should be the creation of a foundational set of skills your employees can refer to and draw. This skill set should be specialized according to the needs of your company and with a sense towards the profile of common customers and the most frequent types of issues or complaints.

All representatives of your company should be incredibly knowledgeable with the major products and services offered to the point where they can confidently and quickly recognize specific problems that customers face. Further, your employees should be aware that good customer service counts as a critical component of your business’ growth, since support interactions are opportunities to acquire, retain, and even to upsell customers on products.

The majority of clients will stop doing business with a company after a bad customer service experience, so ensuring that your employees understand the basic aspects of dealing with people is the foundation of good customer service. Instilling patience, attentiveness, clear communication skills, acting skills, time management skills, the ability to read customers, and so forth will drastically improve the success of your customer service.

Create an Actionable, Structured Learning Approach to Educate Employees
Now that we’ve established a basic direction of how to begin designing a helpful curriculum for training college graduates in customer service, we should consider the actual training process itself and how to get the best results out of that process.

How many times have you called customer service to be met with a recorded messages telling you that your call may be used for training purposes? This reveals a fair amount of what happens behind-the-scenes for the training of new employees.

If you want to design a practical and data-driven learning approach for your customer service representatives, then compiling a significant number of real calls will undoubtedly increase the reliability and speed of training. From a list of recorded calls, you can select a number of situational examples to illustrate to college hires what the norms of professionalism are, as well as what counts as good or bad service experiences.

Framing service experiences in an easy to understand, personalized format will also expedite this learning process, as it will allow your employees to grasp the context of the situation more quickly.

The most significant parts of training college graduates for customer service will depend on how you frame the job of customer service in the current economy to that graduate, and how you educate that graduate on a set of foundational skills. If you can successfully contextualize a customer service job to a college graduate and have them internalize the foundational skills that lead to good customer service interactions, the actual training process will proceed much faster and with less difficulty.

AJ Agrawal
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify


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