Every day, call centres handle an enormous volume of customer interactions – traditionally via phone calls, but increasingly via email, chatbots or social media too. With this volume of exchanges, you can see it’s vital to get one thing right: customer service.
Many organisations have developed their own unique definitions of customer service to reflect their own values and the support they want to provide. But at its heart, customer service is simply providing support to new and existing customers.
Providing exceptional customer service is crucial to a successful business – and so it’s important that we provide the best training for our agents. Let’s break it down into what great service looks like and consider how we can help our agents to achieve it.
4 Fundamentals of Customer Service?
While some companies might turn to extravagant gestures or fulfilling unreasonable requests to rate highly with their customers, it really doesn’t need to be that difficult. We’ve identified four key concepts that should be the centre of customer service: empathy, patience, strong communication and active listening.
Empathy is the art of understanding your customer’s point of view. It means that, even when you can’t give your customer good news, you can demonstrate that you’ve listened, you’re aware of their problem and you really care about how they feel.
Call centre agents should practise putting themselves in the shoes of the customer. Crafting a message that will demonstrate your own understanding of the issue can really help to swing the situation back to a positive – even if you can’t give the customer exactly what they want.
There are no two ways about it – customer service professionals must be able to demonstrate patience. Whether dealing with a particularly irate customer, or someone who is just taking a little longer to get their point across, exercising patience can go a long way towards helping to alleviate customer frustrations and concerns.
When dealing with customer dissatisfaction, the worst thing you can do is miscommunicate. Having strong communication skills will mean that the right message is communicated to the customer, avoiding potential disappointment and further frustration. Call centre agents should be clear, concise and to the point.
Active listening is a skill that demonstrates you are actually taking in what your customer says. Asking questions or interacting appropriately shows that you are truly trying to understand their issue, and in turn, this helps to convince them that you will do your best to help. Customers will build trust and confidence in an agent that they believe has really listened to what they have to say.
Customer Service Training Types
So, we’ve established what we’d like our agents to achieve – now let’s take a look at how effective training can help them to get there.
If you have a large group of agents to train, with a variety of backgrounds and skill sets, a webinar can be an effective way to deliver training – especially if your workforce is spread out over several locations. The beauty of a webinar is that it can be watched at any time, and all that is required is an internet connection – keeping costs low.
Face-to-face call center coaching training often involves an instructor delivering training to a group in an interactive way. This allows the participants to contribute to conversations and share knowledge – leading to high engagement. It also provides an opportunity for staff to put into practice some of the communication skills required for excellent customer service, in a live situation.
E-learning is a flexible training option that involves staff taking part in training through a smart device – and it has high engagement rates because it enables learning ‘on the go’. Simulations and scenarios can provide real-life opportunities for staff to practice their skills in various situations, which can then easily be applied to the workplace. E-learning also allows employees to track the progress of staff and identify areas where they might need some extra support.
How an LMS System Can Improve Your Customer Service Training
Using a call centre learning management system to manage e-learning across your team opens up opportunities for providing top-up training, refresher training and personalised programmes that other training methods won’t cover. LMS systems can also supply an engaging and interactive platform that leads to long-term learning and retention.