Regardless of the nature of your business, exception customer relationships are critical to long term success. Many consumers take not of along-termer their experiences with your customer service team far more than the product or service that they purchased from you.
Numerous studies provide evidence that happy customers:
- buy more,
- buy more often, and
- tell their friends to buy, too.
On the flip side, research in 2011 found that 78% of consumers have walked away from a purchase or not made an intended purchase because of a poor customer service experience.
While 3 in 5 people (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience, and 7 out of 10 said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
It is simply a fact that news of poor customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good experience. This clearly demonstrates how powerful good service can be. It can be the difference between an outstanding brand and one that is unremarkable. Often, customer service is what separates companies that thrive from those that do not.
Given this knowledge, more and more companies have been focusing on improving their customer experience through continuous employee training. This is why it is imperative that businesses invest in quality customer service training programs. In order for this training to be successful, it needs to be ongoing, relevant and cover every member of an organization.
Having happy customers starts with having great customer service, and having great customer service starts with effective recruitment, onboarding, and training.
Companies who want to improve their customer service have two options:
- Engage an outside company that provides excellent training, coaching, and support in this area and partner with them, or
- Opt for in-house training facilitated internally with a distinct program that directly clarifies their customer relations questions and experiences.
So which one is better? It boils down to your preferences and a choice. A blend between the two is a solution that many organizations pursue with tailored programs build by specialists in the area and delivered with a blended approach.
At the end of the day, investing in improving customer service and experience is one of the most valuable things you can do to grow your business.
Today, many companies actually prefer creating their own customer training programs, which they administer to their employees, especially those who have face to face encounters with clients. Companies who take this approach know which areas to focus on and which employees to look after.
Quality customer service training should be based on the needs of your organization as well as the skill level of your employees. At the same time, it is also better because you know your customers. Customer insights and satisfaction programs are critical in informing the sort of training and coaching your organization will need.
Developing A Training Customer Service Program
Before fully implementing a program the following areas should be considered:
- Profiling your customers: define their wants, needs, and desires
The only way to answer these questions is to do the research. This may include face-to-face meetings, email or telephone contact, retail sales or structure feedback programs.
- Role play.
An excellent way to understand customer relations and how important it is to mentally or physically place yourself in the role of a customer, and ask yourself what you expect and demand from customer service personnel.
- Consider your brand voice.
What is your brand message? What is your brand voice? How do you want to be remembered and recalled? With a competitive market and numerous players in the industry, how can you make sure your brand voice is heard, and more importantly, recognized and remembered? Creating a well-fitting brand voice is one thing, but the bigger challenge remains to be how you relay through an excellent customer service it to your audience effectively and successfully.
- One on One or Group
Training can be given one-on-one, or in a group setting. Nevertheless, it should be the proper venue where your employees can share experiences, air their concerns, and practice their new skills.
- Managers and Supervisors as Coaches
Whatever a program looks like never underestimate the role that team leaders, supervisors and managers play in coaching and role modelling the right behaviors.
Implementing your customer service training program:
After successfully drafting a training or capability program, implementing it successfully is crucial. Here are some tips on how you might go about it:
- Create a Training Matrix
A training matrix is simply a list which includes all training on offer. The matrix is used as a scheduling tool, and as a tracking mechanism for employee development. When an employee completes a training session, the attendance date is placed on the matrix.
- Train the right people
Identify employees who regularly deal with customers, and assign them to training that fits their customer interactions and job function.
- Gather feedback from your people
Get feedback on the training classes from your people. They directly benefit from training and applying what they have learned with customers. At the end of the day, the success of your training is translated by their performance, and generally, by the satisfaction, or lack thereof, of your customers.
- It should be continuous and on-going
It should not, however, be considered a one‐time or annual event, instead, customer service training should be considered a policy. Customer service training is an ongoing process that needs to be incorporated into an organization’s culture and way of doing business.
Ultimately, just like business owners, managers and employees, customers are people. Just like everybody else, customers want to be treated in a way that makes them feel valuable and important, especially by an organization or brand they trust and patronize. Your customers’ experiences will be defined by the skill and quality of the support they receive.