According to American Express, 90 percent of U.S. consumers use customer service as a factor when deciding whether or not to do business with a company. On top of attracting new customers, customer service is vital if you want to keep your existing ones. Marketers estimate that it can be 5–25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Exceptional customer service is the best tool for enhancing customer success and retention. Read on for some tips on training staff to provide excellent customer service.
- Know the Key Skills You Should Be Training Staff On
Before you can start customer service training for your employees, you first need to decide on the training modules. Customer service involves the attentive anticipation and fulfillment of a customer’s needs before, during and after a purchase.
To provide an exceptional customer service, train employees on key skills like:
- Effective communication skills
- Product knowledge
- Emotional intelligence
- Work ethic
- Time management
- Stress management
An employee who is proficient in all these areas is likely to excel in providing great customer service.
- Test for and Reward Great Customer Service Behaviors
Establish certain key traits such as problem-solving, patience when talking to customers and proper communication, and include these traits as parameters to measure and reflect upon during staff performance evaluations. Customer service surveys can also include relevant questions to help assess whether your employees are displaying these traits in their customer interactions. Any areas where your team falls short can be an avenue for retraining.
Post-evaluation, take it a step further by rewarding employees who meet or exceed the given parameters consistently. The more ways you can enforce the desired customer service traits amongst employees, the better your customer service experience will be.
- Seek Employee Input and Feedback
You will need employee participation in order for your customer service training to be effective. Through regular team meetings, you can get employee feedback on skill gaps and what to focus on while training staff.
Your employees also receive direct feedback from customers, so they are best placed to tell you what customers like the most and/or least about your product or service. Valuing, respecting and listening to your employees’ input can also improve their engagement levels with your company, which may ultimately lead to them providing better customer service.
- Train Employees on Digital Communication Tools
The customer service experience has also become more digital over the years, so employees need to be well versed in digital communication tools, too. Roughly 54 percent of customers prefer to use email for their customer service needs. Other consumers enjoy messaging companies on social media platforms and getting an even quicker response back.
Many website now also have chat options or chatbots through which a customer can interact directly and immediately with a customer service agent or AI chatbot. Providing all the digital avenues for your customers to reach you — and training your employees on the best ways to communicate using these tools — is key to have industry-leading customer service ratings.
- Keep Employees Informed
One of the most important factors in providing great customer service is that your employees need to know all about your company and the products and services you offer. It is also important for them to be aware of any new developments in the company so they can knowledgeably answer customer queries. Further, if possible, train employees on different functions or departments so they can have a deeper knowledge of how the company operates.
A great place to start is during the new employee onboarding process. Employees should get company-wide tours and comprehensive induction training when they first join the company. Another great way to keep employees informed about your company is to post updates through a company intranet or newsletter. If you don’t already, consider hosting a monthly or quarterly all-hands meeting whereby the CEO can present relevant company updates and answer employee questions and concerns.
- Train Your Employees for Empowerment
When an employee isn’t as knowledgeable as they could be, they may have to frequently consult with a supervisor regarding customer complaints or queries, which leads to longer wait times for customers. This is significant because 73 percent of consumers feel that a company valuing their time is the most important aspect of customer service.
Empowering your employees to take responsibility for customer service decisions can improve customer service by reducing the wait times for resolutions. But proper training is necessary before empowerment. Otherwise, if your employee isn’t well trained but does have the authority to make important decisions, they may end up creating losses.
- Create the Tone of ‘the Customer Is Always Right’
In order to have effective customer service training, you need to create a company culture of putting the customer first. The old saying that "the customer is always right" is a great ethos for your company to follow. Keeping your employees in the mindset of genuinely connecting with other humans is important.
If you allow your employees to not take customer complaints seriously, then there may be an unspoken negative attitude internally toward customers, resulting in a loss of business. If you want your company to be famous for great customer service, you need to instill a positive customer service culture in your employees. This should start from their onboarding training and carry through any additional customer service training.
Training Staff on Good Customer Service Is Essential for Your Business
Customer service is a key part of business success. Even if your product or service is far superior to your that of your competitors, a bad customer experience can easily deter a prospective or existing customer away from your business to look for similar offerings elsewhere.
To get start in equipping your staff with better customer service skills, view ExitCertified’s complete list of business skills, communication and leadership training courses.
About the Author
Matthew George has worked in the education industry for nearly a decade, in various marketing roles and throughout a range of countries. During this time Matthew has witnessed the ongoing evolution in technology; thus the importance of organizations keeping employees' skills up to date. Matthew’s passion is to enable organizations to get the right skills and expertise they need from an industry-leading and authorized training company such as ExitCertified (Tech Data).