Call Center Customer Service Training
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Call center customer service training can be a real challenge, because once someone is "on the phones", it is difficult to release them for a training session, as it will affect service levels.
It is important therefore, that any training carried out achieves its objectives, and that the business feels the benefits of taking people off the phones and the disruption that may cause.
What should Call Center Customer Service Training include?
To build competence, telephone skills and manners, good practice for customer service call center training can include
- attitudinal training, early on in their employment, to help people understand the importance of the customer and what they do for the customer.
- call handling skills training during the induction or orientation period, so that people can understand how communication over the telephone works, and the vital skills of questioning, listening and summarising for call control. Don't just concentrate on internal processes and systems training, people need help translating those into a great customer care experience.
- simulations where employees experience a variety of situations and learn best practice for dealing with them. This also enables people to start to understand how they will use your system when they are dealing with customers. A "model office" like this can really benefit people in getting to know your systems and build their confidence before they work with real customers. There's some tips on using roleplays effectively here
- high impact sessions ( from time to time ) which everyone attends to give a focus to key business or attitudinal issues ( such as customer focus ). This is highly effective when having to implement a new strategy within the business and your agents or advisors need to be engaged in order to deliver your customer experience goals. Read about getting "buy in" to your mission with advice from our Customer Service Training Agony Aunt here
- a mix of formal classroom training with shorter more flexible training sessions to keep key messages alive. Have you thought about running shorter training sessions in team meetings? They can focus employees on customer service attitudes and manners, keep key messages from the initial training alive, and continue to develop customer service and call handling skills. Having team leaders run training sessions also develops their skills set.
Reinforcing call center customer service training
Here are some ideas to help you get the most return from your investment in call center customer service training:-
- involving floorwalkers. Floor walking is the practice of having experienced members of staff on hand to answer questions about products, services, systems or policies. Floorwalkers are key members of your training team. Make sure these people are very customer focussed, and don't just know everything about your products, processes and services - they need to model how to deal with customers effectively. Their attitude will make a big difference to the people around them, and that spreads to your customers.
- coaching on live calls. This is different to floor walking, and concentrates on what the employee can do differently that will improve their skills and confidence when dealing with customers. Coaching for skills development is different to a quality review, although the two are linked. If your focus on these conversations is about the quality of the call, what the agent did or didn't do, your focus is retrospective. The experience can be difficult for the agent, and they can become defensive. Good call coaching enables the agent to explore their style, the situation of the call, and focuses on the action they could take to develop their own behavior, skills and attitudes.
- helping call center agents to understand the behaviors associated with good customer service by having a customer service competency framework. Make sure it's not generic, but really relevant to the work that you do.
- have fun; games and competitions on the floor can also work to support key customer service behaviors. Sales teams are very good at getting people to share their successes and often create a game or competition for that. The same principle can work for your customer service language.
- use your huddle. A morning huddle, the quick five minutes where the team come together to focus on their time ahead. Use this to reinforce customer service behavior - tell people about good customer service behaviour. Spread the joy.
- rinse and repeat; all good training benefits from being relevant and repeated, so it is important that refresher and review training is carried out. Keep key messages about caring for your customers at the front of people's minds.
Find more customer service training ideas by clicking on the links below