8 Ideas for Training your Customer Support Team
When it comes to customer service, the most important thing you need to shine is an excellent team. However, a great team won’t just happen in a day. The best way to make sure that your customer support staff are all ready for their roles is to give them the training they deserve. The training they receive should cover four key bases.
- Communication skills are of paramount importance. When it comes to customer service, your employees need to be able to convey meaning and emotion equally well in their responses. Whether it is the quality of replies to tickets or interactions between employees, good communication is easily one of the most needed skills.
- Teamwork needs to be fostered. Your customer support team is precisely that, a team. To achieve their full potential, they need to function as such. Only when all of them work in sync can the maximum results be obtained for both your company as well as your customers.
- Direction has to be provided to both the work process and the ideas involved in customer service. Your customer support division has to be able to articulate their plans and thoughts in a clean and concise manner. They have to be able to map out a precise process for any procedure they follow, be it answering a ticket or taking a call with a customer. This will also prove useful when they are trying to implement any ideas they might have.
- Patience is vital to providing great customer support. Your team needs to be able to handle anger or exasperation laced responses from your customers with equilibrium. This attribute is essential in customer service and your support staff has to possess it in spades.
These four attributes can make the support provided by your team a stellar experience for your customers. This will help in increasing your customer satisfaction metric, as well as improve your retention rate. After all, a happy customer is one who stays loyal to your company and your product.
The next question you would have is how to train your customer service team in line with these attributes. Here are a few curated tips to help you achieve your goals of a well-trained customer support team.
Shadowing a Mentor
The best way to teach a new hire how things work is by getting them involved in the day-to-day tasks of a more experienced employee such as a a support head. This will not only give them an idea about how to go about their job, it will also give them a taste of the company’s culture. It has the added benefit of helping a newbie make friends with the rest of the team.
For example, at Freshworks we have something uniquely awesome called a ‘buddy system’ in place, where every new employee is assigned to a ‘buddy’ who is a more experienced employee from their team. This not only facilitates team building but also ensures that the new employee has someone they can ask their questions to.
Testing the Product Themselves
The best way to learn more about the product is for your support staff to use it themselves. Whether it is from the perspective of a customer or that of an employee, they will know your product deeply. This will ensure they are ready to answer any questions which your team might receive regarding the product. Your team can also discover any bugs or common issues with your product, and even come up with possible innovations and improvements to it.
Here is something which you can implement. Get your team members to create a test account on your product and play around with it until they gain a deeper understanding of the way it works. This is the best way for them to improve your knowledge of the product.
Learning to be Positive
The most important thing when it comes to customer service is being able to maintain a great attitude. This means that you should be able to tackle issues with a positive mindset. No customer likes to hear the word ‘no’ to their request, no matter how impossible it might be. Thus, ensure that your support team knows what they can say as an alternative to a blunt no.
Some of the alternatives to the word ‘No’ you can use are:
‘We appreciate your ideas and will look into their feasibility.’
‘While our roadmap doesn’t have that functionality planned, we will keep it in mind for the future.’
‘Thanks for letting us in on your thoughts. While right now, we can’t really incorporate them, it is from suggestions like yours that some of our best ideas have been made!’
The key to a great customer service experience is to ensure that there is proper communication between both the customer and the support rep, as well as within the customer team. This can be done by communication exercises which focus on a few significant things such as the tone of voice your rep uses, the sort of greetings they use, and the first impression they form. Since a lot of customer support conversations don’t happen face to face, it is important that your voice or written replies aren’t mechanical. They need to provide the information which your customer needs in a concise and clear manner while also holding some trace of personalization. Here is an example of a great customer support response.
When a customer bought a game they just didn’t enjoy, Blizzard games was under no obligation to offer a refund. However, they decided to play fair and help their customer out, resulting in a great experience for their user, as well as Blizzard getting a boost to their reputation. Note the positive tone of the reply, as well as the personal touches, such as using the customer’s name and adding a smiley emoji. The email also clearly states what is happening and all the customer’s queries are answered as well.
Exercises which you can do to improve your communication skills include writing mock emails and getting feedback about them from someone more experienced. Another thing you can consider is to analyze other pieces of content which your company has created to understand the overall tone which your company aims for.
Practice with Real Life Cases
The best way for your team to gain experience in handling a real life customer support experience is to look at past cases and roleplay them. This would involve your new employee having to think and reply in real time and thus give them the practice they might require to handle cases. Afterward, you can sit down with them, look at how they had handled the ticket, and offer personalized feedback about which areas might need improvement. This sort of in depth training can make a significant difference in the quality of your support team’s responses as well as improve their reaction time.
Team Building Exercises
As important as it is for your employees to be able to deal with customers, it is of equal necessity for them to have an excellent rapport amongst themselves. This can be done through games and exercises which can help connect them to their fellow team members.
A popular example would be a memory name game where your team stands in a circle. Each person has to say their name, as well as the names of the people before them. You can also add in a hobby so that your team gets to know more about each other.
The continuous repetition of each person’s name and hobby will ensure that your team will remember most of it and promote bonding. Trust building exercises, or some friendly competitions and games can also help your team to like each other and learn to work together.
Learning from Past Customer-Team Interactions
A way to get your new staff acquainted with the sort of issues they’ll be contending with is to get them to see customers interact with other employees. If your customers have any issues, they will certainly let your support team in on it. Shadowing their senior employees while they handle customer issues will help your new employees. They can also understand the customers’ problems and motivations and thus be better equipped to provide a solution to them.
Adding Incentives and Team Goals as Motivation
You can encourage your team to go beyond their targets by adding incentives. Your employees may need to cooperate with each other to achieve these team goals. This will promote friendly team spirit and competition. Incentivization can also be used to improve the learning process by adding rewards for every stage of training that your new hire completes.
Your customer service team is the face of your company. They can improve or detract from your public image. Thus, it is in your best interest to ensure their performance is top-notch, and that they can handle anything the job throws at them.
Do you have any other ideas to share with us? Do let us know!