Best Practices for Training Customer Service Teams

The way in which you treat a customer shapes roughly 70% of their overall experience, which means consistently delivering great experiences to your audience requires world-class customer service, and in order to achieve that level of quality, you must master the art of customer service training.

If you’re not sure how to train customer service personnel, the following list of ten customer service training ideas and tips will accelerate your upskilling journey and help you create a team of versatile, well-rounded support agents:

Develop a Customer Service Training Plan

Among each of our customer service training tips, the most integral is to establish a comprehensive customer service training plan. Start with a high-level overview of what you want to achieve by training customer service agents. Ask yourself whether you are trying to address specific deficiencies or if you just want your team to be more well-rounded overall.

From there, spell out what your customer service skills training program will include, making sure that you cover topics like product knowledge, communication skills, company policies, and how to handle different situations.

Emphasize Soft Skills Development

Soft skills are abilities that, while not specific to an individual’s role within the company, are still vital to their success. That said, soft skills often take a back seat to primary competencies like call handling, using contact management software, and learning company policies.

It is vital to remember that each individual’s set of skills is equally important and should be treated as such. Focus on developing key soft skills such as empathy, active listening, patience, and effective communication; a support agent needs all of these abilities in their problem-solving toolkit.

Conduct Role-Playing Exercises

Incorporate role-playing scenarios into your training to help team members practice and prepare for real-life customer interactions. These can include handling difficult customers, managing returns, or troubleshooting common problems.

At times, employees may struggle to take role-playing seriously, especially if the actors are their co-workers. Therefore, you might want to bring in outside role players with whom your staff isn’t familiar. Doing so can add a sense of realness to the scenarios at hand and help everyone get more out of the training exercise.

Deliver Regular Updates

The last thing you want is for a support agent to give a customer outdated or inaccurate information. The situation will not only be embarrassing for the support agent and frustrating for the consumer, but it will also make your company look bad, as it dropped the ball in terms of communication.

All of that is to say that you need to keep your team informed about new products, services, or changes in company policy. Send out regular refreshers in between training sessions via emails, training videos, or slideshows; the goal is to keep important policies and procedures top of mind, ensuring that everyone can provide accurate and current information to customers.

Use Tech in Customer Service Training

Leverage technologies like e-learning platforms, interactive modules, and video tutorials; each of these tools can provide engaging and flexible learning experiences for your team, and — more importantly — they offer a nice change of pace that can break up the monotony of traditional training sessions.

Using a varied approach to customer service training is the key to keeping your staff engaged; you want to deliver valuable information in an interesting and digestible format. Some tech solutions even give your team the freedom to learn on their own terms, which makes the content even more accessible and easy to digest.

Encourage a Customer-First Mindset

Foster a culture where customer satisfaction is a top priority. Such is the preferred approach of leading customer service providers and thusly one you should emulate. While the customer may not always be right, they should always come first, and that is a point you must drive home in your customer service training.

When you put the customer first in your support model, everything else will fall into place. You’ll have an easier time deciding when and how to deliver support and will achieve a better understanding of what your audience expects from your brand.

Create Feedback Loops

The customer service journey is dynamic and ever-changing, and to assume that you’ll achieve complete and total perfection is an unrealistic goal; you’ve got to embrace the concept of continuous improvement through the use of feedback loops.

Creating these will help your team members adapt to shifting consumer expectations and customer service goals. Encourage them to continuously improve and learn from each customer interaction, and provide constructive criticism that they can use to amplify their strengths and clear up any weaknesses.

Offer Stress Management Training

Delivering consistently high-quality customer support can be stressful, especially for agents who specialize in addressing consumer grievances, so strive to equip your team with strategies to handle stress and maintain composure. You should also consider offering health and wellness services, as these can help your support agents develop healthy coping mechanisms for alleviating chronic stress.

Teach Problem-Solving Skills

Teaching your staff to simply check boxes is an approach that leads to a very robotic and cold support experience. Instead, teach them dynamic problem-solving concepts and critical thinking skills. No two support interactions are alike, and that means your staff members must be able to think outside of the box.

When support agents know how to adapt on the fly, they can deliver high-quality support experiences. Empower them to make decisions that benefit both the company and the customer, and ensure they have the support they need to act with confidence. While some decisions must receive supervisory approval, line-level agents need some degree of autonomy to do their jobs effectively.

Promote Collaboration

Encourage teamwork and communication among the customer service team. Sharing experiences and solutions can lead to a more cohesive and effective approach to handling customer issues.

When possible, host team-building exercises or schedule staff lunches. Providing a meal and giving your staff a little extra time to interact can work wonders in improving teamwork and chemistry.

Elevate Your Brand With Customer Service Training

With customer service playing such a vital role in the overall customer journey, training isn’t something you can afford to ignore. Prioritize customer service training and empower your agents to deliver impactful experiences that cultivate brand loyalty. When you provide great customer service, everyone wins.

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