Whether it is a duo handling all the calls and complaints or a dedicated team of agents trained to cater to the customer’s every qualm and concern – there is always room for improvement in customer service at an organization. As a customer service team leader, it rests squarely upon your shoulders to ensure that all employees are continually coached in the latest and most effective techniques in customer care.
Customer service coaching and training is essential in helping staff deal with challenging situations and ensuring positive experiences on every possible customer interaction. Coaching customer service skills – either in a group setting or as an individual training session – must be preceded by a thorough assessment of the team’s current performance as customer service representatives.
These five coaching tactics are guaranteed to upgrade the quality of your organization’s customer service:
Engaging the Client in Meaningful Dialogue
Customer service is all about conversations. An indispensable customer service skill is the ability to establish and maintain open communication with even the most-challenging of customers. The more you keep the conversation flowing between your customers and employees, the more effective your organization’s overall customer service will be.
Active learning through personal interactions must be encouraged between team members and managers should step in to model customer service behavior in and around the office.
Bringing Concepts to Life with Specific Examples
Providing actionable feedback is another integral part of the coaching process and it becomes even more essential when there has been a decline in the quality of customer service. When you are discussing performance with your customer service agents, remember to provide clearly defined examples to back your feedback.
Every single customer-facing team member should strive to become an expert in the services and products on offer by the organization. This intimate knowledge of the organization’s wares coupled with a solution-first approach is a solid foundation to improve interactions between team members and your customers.
Reviewing customer service call recordings, chats and emails from the CS inbox provides real-life cases from which to base your coaching program. Highlight customer-to-representatives interactions that can be improved upon according to the golden principles of customer service.
With years of experience in client services, you are well aware of the myriad of challenges representatives in your company encounter all the time. The coaching technique for customer services must be based on tackling these unique problems individually in addition to providing general guidelines.
‘Fun with a Purpose’: Implementing Game-Based Learning
Plugging game-based learning into your trainings is an excellent way to encourage proactivity, empathy, and conflict management amongst the customer service team. While most managers are eager to adopt games into their toolboxes, they fail to realize that training games must be intelligently-designed yet customized to meet their particular business goals.
Before choosing a customer service-oriented training game, it is crucial that the manager knows exactly what that particular game will help with.
- Will the training game help the team members acquire a new skill or polish their existing communication skills?
- Will it enhance their knowledge of an industry-specific product or service?
- Will the training game bring about a positive change in their behavior while interacting with customers?
For instance, if you want your employees to learn some new terms, a customized crossword puzzle is a good option but if the focus is on enhancing teamwork then games that are designed towards collaboration between different people are more appropriate. The games you end up choosing should be relevant to your training objective while providing learners with a memorable knowledge-building experience.
If you feel that implementing customer service training games is too hectic to handle on your own, extend an invitation to expert trainers to assist your company with such training programs and exercises.
Acting It Out
Once in the training room, remember to ask your customer service representatives to get into the shoes of the customer by acting out real-life scenarios.
This will give them a comprehensive understanding of how they can improve their performance:
- You can make up hypothetical situations or actually pick a recent interaction that can be optimized for the purpose of role play.
- Ask your employees to pair up, rate performances of each other or pitch in valuable suggestions.
- Demonstrate through these role plays how to deal with angry and difficult customers, or how to explain a product to a customer and so on.
- While carrying out these trainings, try to make sure that everyone gets to participate.
Get employees to work with people they wouldn’t normally interact with and once the agents understand the crux of the role playing activity they are performing – why not make them swap roles too!
Role-playing situations that mimic real-life interactions will help invoke empathy in team members for your customers. Team members will better understand the customer’s perspective as well as be able to identify critical pain points through repeated role-playing activities.
Checking-In Regularly to Secure the Best Customer Experience
Coaching has to be learning centered, so it will not be enough to just set-it and forget it. Following up with the customer service team is crucial to the training’s success.
Before the next round of coaching, work with the Quality Assurance team to assess whether the agents have gained the essentials from the coaching interaction. Back-to-back coaching, without checking in on progress, will not improve the overall quality of customer service in your organization.
In effort to improve the overall customer experience at your company, take time to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of every single customer service representative. Positive reinforcement will do wonders for lifting the overall morale of the customer service department.
Mentoring and coaching, specifically when dealing with the topic of less-than-stellar customer service, provides an opportunity to instill a positive, customer-centric attitude throughout the organization. Coaching sessions will infuse a sense of pride and purpose in all the employees who have direct contact with customers, be it as a salesperson, a customer service representative or a member of the Communications & Marketing departments.