While your sales team fills your CRM, your customer service team is the lifeblood of your company. They have the responsibility of maintaining your company image. They also can make or break the entire customer experience. Ultimately, a strong customer support team holds your company together.
When a customer calls in fed up with your software, you want to have the person on the phone equipped to diffuse the situation. To develop a great customer support team, you need an effective plan for training.
Customer Service Training That Works
How do you create a customer service training plan? Follow these five simple steps to establish a set guide for preparing new customer service agents.
1) Hire Carefully
Put prospective team members through a rigorous interview process and screen each carefully. You only want the best for your support team. Thorough assessments during the interview stage, you can eliminate poorly-qualified candidates and save significant time in the future.
Run them through role-playing exercises to see how they handle potential interactions with customers. Consider their ability to de-escalate a situation while remaining calm and patient. If they cannot effectively do so in an interview environment, they will have a hard time when an actual customer is yelling on the phone.
2) Make Company Expectations Clear
Establish customer service standards for your entire team and make them clear from the beginning. Thoroughly explain customer service standards and company expectations during training. Agents should know what you expect of them, including metrics and KPIs you plan to uphold. Use this data to set goals for your team and give them goals to achieve.
Lay the groundwork to build a team that can not only meet but also exceeds customer expectations. Incorporating metrics like first call resolution (FCR), average reply time, resolution rate, and overall customer satisfaction gives you numbers on which to base performance. You can use these numbers to determine how closely your team aligns with company expectations.
3) Utilize Call Recordings
Call recordings are one of the most useful tools when running your customer support team. They offer a direct look at how the team handles calls with your customers. If your numbers indicate a reason for concern, dig into your call recordings to determine the problem.
Call recordings also provide hard examples of how to and how not to conduct calls. Use them to show how to handle phones calls appropriately. You can also incorporate poorly-handled calls to coach new agents on what they should do or say instead.
4) Incorporate Role-Playing
Role-play exercises are great to use not only during the interview process but during training as well. You can act out scenarios specific to your product or service. Prepare new agents for potential problems they may face on the phone. By practicing beforehand, you get them ready for inevitable challenges customers will have.
Either run these role-play scenarios yourself or enlist the help of more experienced team members. Those who have been with your company for some time are aware of common customer complications and difficulties. Sharing their experiences with new agents through practice interactions provides hands-on knowledge and guidance.
5) Implement Effective Leadership
Consistency in the upper level encourages consistency from your employees. Appointing an effective leadership team keeps your company running smoothly. Managers need to have a deep understanding of the company’s goals and performance metrics. Part of their job is to track progress towards company standards and ensure the team meets goals.
The management team needs to be a combination of encouraging and enforcing with the team. Without encouragement, your agents will feel underappreciated and lack the motivation to work hard for the company. Without enforcement, they will require structure and guidance. Your leadership team must strike a balance between these to be as effective as possible.
Training Your Customer Support Team
Ultimately, you need to determine an onboarding and customer service training process that works for your company. The needs of your customers are as unique as your product. When you tailor this plan to your company, you’ll set up a customer service team that can handle anything your customers ask of them.