Your customer service employees represent your brand in a special way. They’re on the front lines and have the ability to positively or negatively influence every customer they come into contact with. Having said that, are you paying enough attention to how they’re trained?
3 Ways to Improve Customer Service Training
It’s not a topic that gets a lot of business owners excited, but training plays an integral role in positioning your brand as a reliable and responsive company that puts customers first.
Here are some practical ways you can improve your customer service training to get the sort of results you expect to see.
1. Try the 70-20-10 Rule
Research shows that people typically learn and perfect their skills via three sources. Approximately 70 percent comes from challenging assignments, 20 percent from developmental relationships, and 10 percent from formal training. Some call this the 70-20-10 Rule (or guideline).
While the typical program focuses on formal training, you need to find a way to ensure your customer service employees are getting the other 90 percent. Developmental relationships account for twice as much as formal training, while challenging assignments should carry seven-times the weight.
According to business coach Jeff Toister, the answer is to restructure training programs so that they consist of the following distribution: formal training materials (10 percent), coaching (20 percent), and real world challenges (70 percent).
2. Get Employees Out of Their Element
When it comes to any sort of employee training topic, it’s a good idea to study the healthcare industry and how doctors and other medical professionals approach professional development. Doctors are required to take continuing medical education (CME) credits and other industries can learn a lot from how they handle it.
For example, many healthcare organizations send their employees to remote conferences to get them out of their element and make the process a little more exciting. As you’ll see here, there are frequently CME conferences in places like Vegas, Hawaii, and even Melbourne and Rome.
While you might not be able to swing a trip overseas, is there a way you can get your customer service employees out of their element for a couple of days and immerse them in training?
3. Make Content Digestible
While formal training may only account for a small percentage of the big picture, you must provide your employees with the material they need to be successful. This means creating digestible content that can be easily processed in short periods of time.
Today’s customer service professionals operate in a fast paced environment where it’s no longer practical to sit in front of the computer and complete two- or three-hour training modules.
They need the ability to access training materials via a mobile device and complete various sections in five- and ten-minute chunks of time that allow them to fit training in whenever they have a few minutes.
On a related note, training materials should immediately feed into real world application for better digestion. If possible, try to align your employees’ customer service training with on-the-job responsibilities. This will help both the organization and your employees.
Set Your Employees Up for Success
Customer service isn’t something you can fake. It’s an extremely palpable touch point between your business and your audience and isn’t something you can take lightly. In addition to hiring the right people who will represent your brand well, you also need to train and prepare them for the challenges they’ll face.
If you aren’t investing time and effort into your customer service training program, then you’re failing to set your employees up for success.