8 Key Customer Service Skills (and How to Develop Them)

Bhavik Sarkhedi

Senior Writer

The Training Guide: Enhance the Skills of Customer Support and Service Team

Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always one coming. However, a dissatisfied customer may come back once he leaves the doors, bringing a downfall for the company. A good customer review might have a zero to slight effect on your footfall; bad reviews hold the strength to bring down the revenue of the company. 

“Customer is the king” is a proverb that needs to be applied with the right tactics so that the benefits reach both the business organization and the customer. The marketing efforts that your branding team is making will remind the customers about your product and services. But how will you become a memory in their minds forever?

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The answer is simple, EXPERIENCE and not just any experience but the delight of offering customer service experience is what every consumer needs. Moreover, customer services go on to prove the story the brand is telling through marketing initiatives. One happy customer forms a chain of satisfied customers if the business stands to live by diligent customer service. 

This comes down to how businesses need to strategize their customer services. Not in the end, not in the middle, but customer support strategy starts from the very beginning of the organization. The vision of a business revolves around what kind of customer needs you wish to fulfill.

The question is who will cater to customer support services, how will they be executed, and where? All of this can be answered by one simple word; TRAINING. The customer support team won’t just wake up and begin to provide customer support. Training becomes the base of customer service support for businesses to preach the goals of the company and excel in customer satisfaction.

Benefits of Training the Customer Service Team

Brand building is an important feature of why your sales and marketing team needs to excel in timely and efficient customer support. Additionally, your customer is more likely to give a positive word of mouth if their complaint or query is handled on time with appropriate solutions.

Training for customer support is not limited to the nature of communication; it also preaches the employees to embrace various technologies from which customer support can be provided. For example, mail enquires physical representatives, Chatbot assistants, etc. 

Some people could say that hiring skilled employees for customer service does the job. However, even a skilled employee needs to understand the environment of every organization. Additionally, every business unit deals with different types of customers, and not every consumer can be treated the same way. Thus, training is an opportunity to mitigate those differences. 

Let us embrace a training guide to amplify consumer’s customer service experience.

Customer Service Team Training Guide

1. Team Engagement builds the base

When a new hire enters the company’s doors, businesses must ensure to familiarize themselves with the customer service team. This is the first step to creating a comfortable atmosphere for existing and new employees. Moreover, understanding your team will help to strategize better and more efficient training plans. Host an informal gathering to break the ice and let the new employees understand how work is executed in your business environment. Let the team bond on an informal level to get comfortable working around each other.

Engage the employees in a team exercise, creating situational-based scenarios encountered during a customer service interaction. Gather everyone for a team lunch and discuss the formal and informal agenda of the company.

2. Product training sets the stage

For the customer service team to work on their toes and keep the customers happy, they need to know about the company’s product or service from top to bottom. Apart from the A-list employees, the front desk operators should also understand what the business delivers and stands for to create an everlasting impact. 

Have your support team conduct a demonstration session along with the teammates. This exercise can turn out to be a very effective method of peer learning. The demonstration will showcase the level of knowledge each employee possesses, thus defining the roadmap to improvised training methods. 

Today the customers are already smart enough to understand the basic details of the product services. Thus, to assist the advanced consumer base, the support team needs to get their hands on product information and different means to address customer queries.

3. Training on the go

Not only the fresh hires but even the existing employees can benefit from timely training knowledge. Introducing a quarterly or yearly training system helps to check the employees’ efficiency and keep them on track with the company’s goals. Furthermore, timely training also involves emergency training where the employees are educated to function according to any company crisis or change of product. 

4. Training for nurturing Soft Skills

Before we make sure that the customer service team knows how to work around the technology of the business, it is essential to establish some interpersonal skills that create a smooth flow of communication between the team and the customer. The soft skills, as suggested by the name, work to build a swift relationship with the customer base. Some of the active soft skills that every business unit should involve in their training program are;

  • Clear communication
  • Active listening
  • Use of positive and polite language
  • Persuasive communication
  • Conflict-resolution
  • Crisis management

The list is inclusive of the above-given skills but not exhaustive. Business organizations can implement such training programs by creating drills in the organization and setting up mock conversations with the customers. In simple terms, this can be called a practice run, where employees encounter simple to tough situations to test their various soft skills. 

Several statistics have shown that customers are more inclined towards a brand because of how the staff treats them from the point of brand awareness to the purchase stage, including after-sales support. 

5. Include numbers in a training meeting

The authorities must monitor how far the training has taken the customer experience. This data comes in the form of metrics of performance measurement that assist in changing/enhancing the training model of the customer support team. The key technical aspects that every customer support team member should know are as follows.

  • Average response time (ATR)
    The time to address the query of the customer varies according to the nature and policy of the business. In the training program, educate your employees on how long they can take to respond to any customer request.
  • First contact resolution (FCR)
    Depending on the nature of the request, the support team should be skilled in offering a solution at the first point of contact with the customer.
  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
    A measuring tool that allows businesses to check product performance, services, and brand interaction. The team of customer support can use this data to analyze how satisfied the customers are after having a touchpoint with the support team.
  • Number of touchpoints
    A statistic shows how many times a single customer came with the repeated issue to the brand.

All of the above-given data can be again leveraged to provide incentives to the employees. Creating a reward system is part of the training process. A system that follows the progress of employees after every training program can help the support team stay on their toes. Additionally, businesses can use the track of progress to instigate a reward and recognition system to boost employee morale. 

6. Training for the right tools

Business units are becoming a blend of online and offline modes of experience. So the customer could visit your physical store or even the website and access the products and services. The customer support team here receives training to acquaint themselves with the technology to communicate and address customer queries online. 

Some of the technological tools that are commonly used by business organizations are

  • Live engagement tools
    A platform where the customers can interact with the customer care executive on immediate response time. These live interaction tools include phone calls and video calls which help address the customer complaint in real time.
  • Chatbots
    Your service team should be well equipped with using the means of technology and the internet. The basic queries are usually addressed by AI Chatbots, and only further detailed inquiries are transferred to a live representative. Here factors such as average response time learned during the training come into play.
  • Help desk
    Business units commonly feature a help desk on their website where the customers can state their queries and expect replies in the form of automation tools, ticket generation, or report generation. Familiarize the customer support team with all the tools used to bring out the best of their efficiency.

7. Establish internal communication flow

The customer support team does a commendable job when nurtured with the knowledge of the business and the right tools of technology. However, one pain point comes in every customer care executive’s life: they may not have all the answers every time. The complaints or queries of certain customers are defined to be solved at the authoritative level. 

In the above-given situation, your training process should also educate the support team to know whom to approach when such a situation arises. With the changing level of customer requests, the team addressing the solution may also change.

8. Online training programs

While the business can manage training the employees about the intricate learnings they know, the outside world, i.e. experts, also helps establish a better training program. As a more formal approach, your customer support team can use some knowledge imparted by instructors specifically for training purposes. On top of that, digital advancement has also led the world to learn and adapt new things through e-learning. The customer service staff can also learn at their convenience on or after their office hours. The short training videos have also proved entertaining while imparting intellect, making it a boon for employee morale. 

Moreover, a more dignified approach to training is following the 70:20:10 framework. Under this approach, 70% of the training is conducted on the job, i.e. through experiential learning. The support team tends to learn more from one or two mishaps or lessons taught by the manager than from pulling tricks from any book. The next 20% is social training methods, where the peers can teach each other to upscale their efficiency as a support team. The last 10%, as discussed above, is formal training predefined and subject to expectations of progress from employees. 

Accelerate Growth through Customer Support Team Training

At any given point, the customer will come in contact with a representative of your business. Whether they are taking a grocery store tour, browsing through an electronic shop, or making an online purchase, one point of contact is always available to address their concerns. Such small points in the customer’s journey help create the brand’s goodwill. 

Customers may once trust a brand with bad product/ service quality, but if the same brand fails to address the grievances, the business may lose its integrity in front of the customer. Thus, if you have a customer support team that knows your business’s key values and is trained under professional methods of customer delight, such mishaps can be avoided. To tell the truth, it is not even about avoiding mishaps; rather, every business finds ways to customer retention. While the branding team works on marketing methods of retention, the customer support team stays in touch with the customer to understand their needs directly.

The customer support team can also work efficiently towards collecting feedback from the customers and understanding their needs better. The data collected thus can be used to improve the product/services of your business. So move today and strengthen your training programs to keep the customers happy and satisfied.

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