Customer Service Skills

Teaching ‘people skills’ can be difficult, but e-learning makes it easier than ever to get your customer-facing teams trained with the proper customer service skills to deliver amazing customer service experiences.

Whether it’s retail, business-to-business sales, phone support, or any other customer-facing role, training workers to develop customer service skills is very different from other employee training programs, and requires its own approach.

Considerations for training on customer service skills

1. High Customer Service Turnover Rates: Turnover in many customer service positions tends to be high.  According to the 2016 US Contact Center Decision Makers’ Guide from ContactBabel.com, the Average Annual Turnover Rate for a customer service representative (CSR) was 29%, with Quit Rates representing 60% of Total Turnover.

2. Education Level of Customer Service Teams Being Trained: Another consideration is that in some instances, customer service roles are filled by employees with less higher education than people in most corporate training scenarios.

3. Customer Service Reps May Be Training on the Go: Depending on the business model or industry, your CSMs and CSRs might be training from a client site or even a retail counter. How do you get them to engage and focus on training?

Trainers who are responsible for training on customer service skills need to take these differences into account. E-learning or online learning offers several ways to make customer service training more effective, affordable, and scable for a quickly changing business environment.

The People Factor

The single element that sets customer service training apart from other fields is right in the name: customers. Customer service reps not only need to be knowledgeable about products and services, but they need to be agile enough to respond to any number of moods, complaints, or situations that can arise quite suddenly within that interpersonal dynamic.

For many entering a customer service position, even the most basic people skills have to be taught, often with uneven results. This presents a kind of evaluation challenge for managers to determine if workers have learned enough to do their jobs effectively.

Customer Service Skills Required for the Job

Beyond that, customer service workers must possess a broad set of skills. Here is a list of a few key customer service skills to include in your e-learning or online training programs:

  • Product Training: Remaining knowledgeable about current product and service lines so they can answer all variety of possible customer questions.
  • Managing Customer Issues: Ability to handle returns or complaints from customers without making what is probably already a tense situation worse.
  • Routing Customer Inquiries: Although, you may have a dial by name directory, customers may not find the right person at the right time. Your team should know how to route calls no matter where the service person is located. And yes, even despite the customers inability to use the phone menue. 
  • How to Prioritization: The ability to juggle multiple calls in varying states of resolution and also prioritize the customer call cue are important skills your customer service reps should know.
  • Customer Escalation Process: When a customer is not pleased with their service experience and wants someone at a higher level within the company to resolve the issue, your service team should know how to politely and effectively escalate calls to managers or more technical service personnel if and when appropriate.

How E-Learning Can Help

Online training and e-learning tools can provide new ways of making the training of customer service workers more effective.

  • Many organizations that rely on a large staff of customer service workers are also spread out across multiple locations, perhaps even globally. Online training makes it feasible to reach remote workers with highly tailor materials at a lower cost than traditional training methods.
  • Because training no longer requires dedicated and perhaps off-site facilities, ongoing trainings can be broken into smaller pieces and conducted more regularly. This is particularly well-suited for retail brands that must continually train a sales staff to be knowledgeable about new products.

In the case of phone workers, one of the leading sources of inefficiency in the industry is downtime, but slow periods can be put to better use if small training scenarios are always queued up.

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