With Small Businesses, your staff all wear multiple hats. Anyone that interacts with a client needs customer service training!
A Quick Overview of your path to successful customer service training. Find out the most effective way to train your staff!
Across all industries there are common mistakes potential and current clients despise! Here are a few to consider when training.
Customer service training significantly improves your business. Contact us to get a free customer service evaluation.
As the business owner, you likely only hear about customer service issues when someone is truly upset or you read about it on Google or Yelp. It is so easy to prevent! Any staff that deals with clients, needs customer service training!
Customer service training refers to the process of helping employees understand and respond appropriately to customer needs. It includes providing employees with the knowledge and skills they need to provide effective customer service. Quality customer service is vital for the success of a business because satisfied customers are more likely to return, buy more, and recommend your business to others. Customer service training can help you develop an outstanding customer experience that will increase sales and improve your overall business performance.
Customer service is a team effort. You can’t expect employees to provide excellent customer service if the leadership is not leading from the front. If you’re the boss, you need to set an example that shows you care about customer service and work with your team to improve the experience your customers have with your company. Customer service is vital for business growth and customer retention. Customer service training is vital for the success of a business because satisfied customers are more likely to return, buy more, and recommend your business to others. A good quality, friendly and efficient customer service staff will help win repeat customers and gain new ones, therefore increasing your sales.
If you are like most small businesses, most employees interact directly with your clients. Customer service is the backbone of all businesses. You can have a great sales staff, a great service or product but if you have bad customer service then the rest really does not matter. Training all of your staff with a customer first attitude will make a tremendous positive effect on your business.
The customer service agent is the face of your company and they deal with customers on a daily basis. They are the ones that will be answering calls, taking orders, solving problems and resolving complaints. Customer service agents often do not get enough training or support from their managers or business owners. This lack of training can lead to poor customer service, which can lead to unhappy customers and lost sales. If you want to make sure that your customer service agents are happy and well-trained, then you need to make sure that they have all of the tools needed to deal with customers effectively. Training is vital to their success and the success of your company.
Customer service accomplishes a few very important things: it retains clients, creates repeat business, increases your reputation online and increases your word of mouth business. It also gives you a competitive advantage of your competition because many businesses lose focus on this important part of running a business.
It is important to understand that as the business owner, you likely only hear about customer service issues when someone is truly upset or you read about it on Google or Yelp. It is important for you to get a pulse on this ahead of time and fix the issue – our customer service audit will identify your customer service vulnerabilities and we can quickly implement a plan in order to fix those issues.
Our call audits review the entire process from ground up and we then send you a recording of the call along with a written summary of what went right and wrong. Find out about your customer services issues now before you find out about them through online reviews. Schedule a call audit with us today.
1. Long hold times on the telephone. This can mean you need to better train your receptionist or hire an additional to assist with incoming calls.
2. Long wait times for in person appointments. Are you running behind, spending too much time with clients? Is the check in process quick? If you finally get a client to come in and spend money, your goal should be to see them as soon as possible. We can assist you in fixing this simple issue.
3. Staff that does not seem sympathetic. We have all spoken to customer service reps that simply don’t care – your staff should be trained to avoid this at all costs. Simple steps can fix this very common issue and sometimes the person is just not a good fit for the job – but most of the time a few simple steps can change their entire performance.
1. Voicemail in the middle of the day. Does your office phone go to a general voicemail after a certain amount of rings? This is very frustrating for current and potential clients and should never happen during business hours.
2. Promised follow up with clients not happening. This is easy to explain and fix. Customer service reps promise a call back after reviewing, and it does not happen. Give a timeline and stick to it. Employees cannot be given any slack on this. We can create a simple effective system to ensure this does not happen ever again.
3. Lack of knowledge about a Product or Service. This is one of the most frustrating things for a business owner but it is your fault. It is your job to educate your staff. We have simple solutions so that a receptionist from day one can answer general questions about any of your products or service. We do it all for you and it is simple – as a business owner it is just crazy to not have your staff well educated on ALL your services and/or products – even when they are brand new.
There are dozens of other common issues with customer service. We recommend you start with our customer service audit where we evaluate your staff, secretly and then report the results directly to you in written format, along with recorded phone calls (if you approve). This will give you a good pulse on what is and what is not working and where you need to focus when it comes to customer service and client retention. Contact us to find out more.
Certain fundamentals have to be taught to have great customer service for your business. Most small businesses have the reality of multiple people wearing multiple hats. Here are some of the topics we focus on in our customer service training programs.
Our programs are customized to your business.
Many different skills need to be trained to provide the best possible customer service.
Listening - Listening is a skill that needs to be taught in customer service training. Employees need to learn how to listen and not just hear what they want to hear.
Asking Questions - Excellent customer service depends on the ability of the employee to ask good questions for them to fully understand the situation. This will help them gather all the information they require and be able to answer questions from customers.
Empathy - Empathy is another key skill that needs to be trained in your customer service training program. It is important that employees can put themselves in a customer's shoes and truly empathize with them.
Communication - Communication skills are the foundation of all customer service work. To be a great service provider, you must have the ability to listen, communicate, and lead with clarity. Customer service training provides the ability to communicate with both customers and colleagues, while also improving your listening and communication skills. There are many ways to improve your communication skills, such as practicing and using a communication tool like an email each day, or meeting with a communication coach. As a customer service professional, you need to be able to communicate with customers and colleagues alike.
Problem-solving - Problem-solving is a way of thinking and behaving that helps you solve problems and reach your goals. In customer service training, you learn how to problem-solve, and how to apply problem-solving skills in your work. You will also learn about the seven deadly sins of customer service, and how to avoid them in your interactions with customers and clients.
Attentiveness - The term “attentiveness” is often used as a catch-all for several different skills and techniques for engaging your customers in a telephone or in-person conversation. The most common definition of customer service attentiveness is paying close attention to the customer. Another common definition of customer service attentiveness is listening actively to understand the customer’s problem and the solution the customer is trying to find.
Positive language - Positive language can be defined as “words and phrases that are positive, supportive, encouraging, and/or encouraging customers to continue with your service.” This is one of the most important skills for every business owner to cultivate in their staff. The positive language will make customers feel more at ease and more likely to buy from you again in the future.
Persuasiveness - Persuasiveness is the power of your words to connect with your customers and potential customers. It’s about showing your customers that you care about their needs and that you’re doing everything you can to meet those needs. It’s also about building trust and gaining their trust by showing you’re reliable and trustworthy.
Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg but numerous different skills which are important for customer service and also for all your staff.
Customer interactions are not always fun and it presents a variety of challenges daily for the staff members that have to interact with them. It’s easy to focus on the negative experiences people have with your company and those are typically the experiences your staff and management remember. Negative experiences are usually the most focused on when it comes to customer service training but it is important to also focus on and showcase the positive experiences. There are plenty of examples of when a staff member receives a call that could be negative, but their training made the call a success and ended with a happy client.
By highlighting these positive interactions in your customer service training you can showcase directly how their training benefits the company and exactly how they are positive impacts on the entire business. If you are running a small business, it’s easy to focus on how to get new customers in the door and not how to keep them. Highlighting and discussing the importance of retaining customers will help your staff understand why it’s important to do so and build the skills needed to retain the customers you already have.
There are many ways for your staff to interact with customers throughout their day, from phone calls to email, but there are also many ways that they can interact with current clients who may be referred by their friends or family members. By keeping current clients happy and communicating with them often you will have more repeat business which will help grow your business over time.
Effective communication is one of those fundamentals that most small businesses overlook in training staff members because they feel it’s not necessary when they don’t have too many people on their team or they assume their clients won’t need much guidance or feedback. Communication is important in all aspects of customer service training including phone calls, emails, social media posts, etc… It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is but you should always strive for effective communication at all times with your clients because no matter how busy you are you should always make sure that you are keeping your clients happy and up to date with everything that is going on. Communication is a vital part of customer service training because good intentions that are poorly communicated can harm the company. There are many different ways to train employees in communication skills, but the most important thing to remember is that communication is a process, not a product. The more you teach your team to communicate in a certain way, the more they will adopt that behavior and it will become a habit and of course roll over to their interactions with customers. Effective communication not only helps you grow as a business but also improves the working environment for your employees.
Empathy is an important part of customer service training because it helps you understand your clients and their needs and show them that you care. If you don’t have empathy for your clients then you will not be able to help them in the best way possible. It is a very important trait to have in customer service training because it helps you understand how your clients feel and what they are going through. It makes you more understanding and patient which is significant when dealing with customers. Empathy is also a great way to build relationships with your clients because if you can understand their needs and feelings then they will feel more comfortable talking to you about their problems or concerns which can lead to future sales and word-of-mouth business.
Several methods can be used when teaching empathy but the most effective way would be by using role-play scenarios where employees can practice how they would react in certain situations that may arise while working at the company. Role-playing scenarios can help employees learn how to respond in different situations so that they can become better at communicating with customers and building relationships with them. It is an effective tool but not the only training option. If you decide to try this training exercise out, we highly suggest doing it towards the end of the day when people are tired - you tend to get much better results and more realistic situations. Empathy is vital to the success of any staff member that deals directly with customers and is an essential part of customer service.
When it comes to building a strong customer service team, it’s important to have a solid understanding of your company’s policies. By properly outlining these policies, you can ensure that your employees are following them at all times and make sure that they don’t violate your company’s standards. If you don’t outline your policies, you leave room for interpretation, which can cause problems in the long term. It’s also a good idea to create an employee manual that outlines your company’s policies in specific situations. Creating a manual can also help you identify ways to improve these policies in the future. Well thought our customer service policies can act as a list of do's and don'ts and will help your staff understand what they can or cannot do. Most importantly, it is wise to have to protect your business. When it comes to handling customer complaints, do's and don'ts are the key. Doing things the right way the first time can make all the difference. As a business owner, you have the power to make or break your team. By setting the right tone and standards for customer service, you can help your team build stronger connections with their customers.
Creating clear and concise escalation procedures will help you respond more effectively to complaints and requests from your customers. These procedures should enable your team to help customers as quickly as possible with appropriate care and attention. In addition to being an important tool for internal communication, clear escalation procedures also help you avoid the pitfalls of ineffective customer service. Poorly implemented escalation procedures can lead to difficult conversations between customers and service staff, decreased productivity, and increased costs due to returning calls and emails. A clear and well-planned process can help your team avoid these pitfalls and make it easier to help customers when they need it the most. Most importantly, this leads to happier customers because their issues are resolved quickly and more efficiently.
One of the most important aspects of customer service training is providing feedback to your staff. Feedback can be used to evaluate employee performance and it is an essential tool for improving the quality of customer service delivery over time. Using feedback enables your team to assess customers' satisfaction with their experience and identify opportunities for improvement, which will improve their overall experience with your business. This can have a lasting positive impact on their relationship with you as well as ongoing loyalty. Feedback will also help you identify areas where you need additional training or improvement for future employees, allowing you to make improvements where possible for them to provide better customer service. Customer service training is an evolving and ongoing process and feedback provides a valuable opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of your training process. Evaluating feedback is also important for the overall health of your business. By effectively doing this you can quickly learn about common customer service issues or complaints and if certain themes develop it can be a larger issue than originally thought.
Having a written training manual is important for numerous reasons. A written manual can create consistency across your organization and ensures that the training process is effective. The written training manual should contain all of the information that is needed to deliver customer service training and should be used as a guide for delivering customer service training. The written training manual can also be used as a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of your customer service training. By providing employees with the ability to follow the steps in the written manual you can assess if employees are following the steps correctly and if they are applying them correctly in real-life situations. By providing employees with the ability to follow the steps in the written manual you can assess if employees are following the steps correctly and if they are applying them correctly in real-life situations. This will also provide you with a record of how employees have performed and help you identify areas for improvement. It is also important for your employees to have because it clearly defines your expectations of them. There is nothing more difficult for employees than having to wonder if they are performing their job well. This is one metric they can measure and also providing it in writing gives them the ability to brush up on their skills when needed.
Customer service training should be focused on the customer and not the employee. The customer is the reason your business exists and it is important to provide them with a positive experience. By providing employees with the ability to handle common customer frequently asked questions in customer service training you can protect your reputation and also provide your customers with a positive experience. This will also help employees understand what they are responsible for and how to handle customers in different situations. This will also help employees understand what they are responsible for and how to handle customers in different situations. By providing common questions that customers ask you are also setting your employees up with better information and more targeted training so that they can better perform their job. We highly suggest updating the FAQs every quarter with feedback from your staff. The benefit of this is it will make training easier and better prepare all your employees that speak with customers with possible interactions they may face.
Getting feedback from your employees is extremely important. It is the best way to ensure that your training is effective and that you are providing the best possible customer service training. This will help you determine what areas need improvement and how you can improve them. Employee feedback is vital for all parts of your business and you must take it seriously. We have found that it is not simple to get honest employee feedback because they are worried about criticizing their boss or management. Often, they are afraid to suggest improvements because they do not wish to step on anyone's toes. We have had great success with our Honest Employee Feedback program. It is well worth looking into no matter the size of your business.
Every small business has different target markets and clients. Here are some of the most common customer service issues along with resolutions. This list covers a few but a solid customer service training program for your staff prepare them to handle all issues.
If you have had to call an airline in the last 12 months, you have been in this exact position. Long hold times can make it impossible for your customer service agent to satisfy the client calling in. Most small businesses should have little if any hold time but unfortunately, it happens too often. The automated system should be evaluated but there will always be customers that only want live agents. Some services can evaluate your automated system for ease of use, time spent trying to get a live agent and the number of options the customer has. This is also very dependent on your business size. Some businesses can pick up every phone call with a live person because they are well-staffed and do not receive a heavy volume of calls. If your business experiences a heavy amount of calls and you have long hold times, it is important to identify what the underlying issues are.
One of the most frustrating consumer experiences is sitting on hold, waiting to get help for an extended period. Numerous options can assist you in bettering this issue and the most common and satisfactory fix is the option for the customers to not wait on hold, and input their phone number and be called back within a certain time frame. If you choose this option, your company must be properly set up to call them back and also, if they do not pick up the first time, try 2 more times in 3-minute intervals.
The best way to handle this situation is to train your employees on how to be emphatic. Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person's feelings. The biggest hurdle in satisfying customers is listening and acknowledging the issues they have - a high percentage want results but more importantly need to voice their opinion and feel like you care and are listening. This is a skill that can be learned through training, but also by practicing with a co-worker or supervisor. The best way to practice is to role-play with someone else and have them give you feedback on how you are doing. You can also practice by watching videos of customer service representatives being empathic and then trying to emulate their actions. You will find that your skills will improve greatly if you put in the time and effort to learn this skill.
By nature, we all have empathy but it is important to remember that as a representative of the company, dealing with numerous clients every single day of which a high majority are calling with problems - it is difficult to remain empathetic at all times. However, as a business owner, you know that a single bad experience can be horrible for your business, especially if you are a small business. 88% of consumers review your company's online reviews before making a purchase - if they see reviews talking about bad customer service there is a high likelihood they will move on to a different company.
First, as a business owner, you should track all complaints coming in and see if there are common trends. There could be larger issues that you are aware of that need to be focused on immediately. With all customer complaints, it is important to first acknowledge their complaint is important and that you will do everything possible to satisfy them. If you choose to not acknowledge their complaint, then they will feel like you are ignoring their problem and this can lead to further frustration on both ends of the conversation (and potentially more complaints). If your company has made a mistake by providing the customer with a bad product or service, then it is important to do whatever it takes to fix this issue so that you can retain your customers' business in the future.
There are different variations to this question of course. If your business offers a service like a house painting and there are clear mishaps or errors on your side then it is important to immediately fix the issue. However, if the issue was based on unrealistic expectations then it is important to still try to make the customer happy while clearly explaining the business's standpoint. Every situation is different but a properly trained office staff will be able to listen and understand the customer's issues and do everything possible, within reason to make them happy. It goes without saying if you offer an actual product and it is broken, then the easiest fix is either replacing or refunding.
Every customer service agent needs to set realistic expectations for the customer and make it clear what they can and cannot do. Honesty and being upfront are always good as long as you are empathetic with the situation and still attempt to resolve their issues. There are situations where customers can not be satisfied, no matter what you do but also other situations where they call should be given to a supervisor to attempt to resolve. If the request by the customer is not possible to resolve, it is important to clearly explain to them exactly why you cannot assist them. Some companies find it beneficial to give certain resolutions to customer service agents, like offering a gift card or discount to attempt to resolve the issue. This by no means solves every issue but can assist in showing the client that you care and are trying everything possible to make them happy. Setting clear and realistic expectations is the primary and most effective tool in preventing these types of situations. If the customer is told it will take 2 days to resolve the issue yet it is not done until the 5th day, they have an absolute right to be upset with your business.
Ensure that the team is trained properly and that the agent has the correct knowledge to solve the customer’s issue. You can also record the phone call and make sure to replay it at a later date. This will allow the agent to go over the material and make sure that everything is correct. You can also make sure to let the agent know that you would like to hear the recording. This will give the agent a chance to make any necessary corrections or clarifications. Training is important and equally important is not allowing under trained agents to deal with customers on live phone calls - without being properly tested both in writing and verbally. Role-Playing is a great training tool for customer service agents and gives them the real-life experience of specifically dealing with customer issues. Ideally, you will be able to spend ample time going over actual phone calls of other agents in training so you equip them with the right tools to deal with your customers.
This is one of the easier topics to fix. If you promise a customer to follow up within a certain time frame, you must do that. There is no excuse for this to happen. Businesses can assist their agents by having an easy-to-use customer management system. The system needs to be simple. It needs to offer a few important functions such as creating a waiting list, managing customer contacts, and updating customers on their account status. The system should also be easy to use and there are tons available for low cost for small businesses. These can and should also be used in sales. Customer management is important and following up with customers in the time frame promised is important.
Product and service knowledge is essential for customer service agents because they interact with customers every day. A lack of knowledge can be easily resolved if the customer service agent has the right information at the right time, but often they don’t. This is where education comes into play. The customer service agent must be educated on the different types of products and services, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. The customer service agent must also be knowledgeable about the different ways to solve a customer’s problem and the best ways to approach each problem.
Properly training representatives involves not just how to handle customers respectfully and helpfully, but also extensively training them with product and service knowledge so that they can be effective and helpful to the customers. This is especially important in high-growth organizations where employees may handle a large volume of new customers or clients every day. It is also important to keep in mind that the more knowledge the representative has about their customers, the better their ability to help. It also increases customer retention which is vital for company growth.
The best way to handle this situation is to have a system in place that allows the customer to speak with a representative who can listen and help them and document the situation. If the call has to be upgraded to a supervisor or another department, the agent must explain all the details to that supervisor so they are fully aware. When the supervisor gets on the call with the customer there are a few options. Customer's typically once receiving a supervisor have already been on a call for a long time and want to have the issue resolved as soon as possible. Studies have clearly shown that when a supervisor comes on the call and restates the "issues" it further upsets the customers.
However, supervisors must have all the information to resolve the customer's issues. This is where clear documentation and communication are vital. We highly recommend that you give the customer the option. An easy statement would be "Agent 1 explained your situation entirely to me and I want to do what I can to try to assist you." Then you can jump into trying to assist the customer. The other option is asking the customer if they would prefer you to restate the issues to be sure you are on the same page but assure them that agent 1 explained everything in detail. It is important to acknowledge that but also attempt to resolve their issue as soon as possible. Sometimes, just talking to a supervisor resolves the issue because the customer just wants to be heard and know they are appreciated and their concerns are being addressed.
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