However, you can’t simply offer online customer service training and expect to automatically maximize ROI for the business. You have to recognize why great customer service is so valuable. The importance of customer service comes from:
- The Ability to Build Trust: What reason do customers have to trust your brand? Markets are more crowded than ever and if your customer service doesn’t meet (or exceed) expectations, customers will go elsewhere for your products/services. Great customer service helps create trusting relationships with consumers and continuously strengthens loyalty.
- Increased Brand Awareness: Some say that word of mouth marketing is dying in the age of social media and online reviews. On the contrary, word of mouth is more alive than ever. While stories about negative experiences are more likely to surface than positive ones, exceeding customer service expectations will get consumers talking about your brand.
- Reduced Time Spent Solving Problems: Speed isn’t everything in customer service, but it’s important. When your team has the right set of customer service skills, they’ll be able to reduce friction in the support process and avoid backlogs that harm overall experiences.
Recognizing the importance of customer service and understanding its value will help put you on the right path. The next step is to identify which types of customer service are most valuable for your business.
- Live Phone Calls: As digital channels take hold, many consumers still prefer an old-school, real-time phone conversation to handle problems. Minimizing hold times and making time to resolution as efficient as possible are critical to live customer service success.
- Interactive Voice Response: When live calls proved too inefficient, IVR systems came in to automate some of the process. These systems save time because they can qualify customers and route them to the proper support rep rather than forcing long hold times.
- Messaging: Chatbots, instant messaging, web chat. These emerging digital channels bring a new level of convenience and automation to customer service.
- Email Support: Before instant messaging, there was email customer service. And while chat has taken some of the volume away, email is still critical to customer service. While some companies struggle to respond to email quickly, the asynchronous channel allows customers to have claims resolved without actively sitting on hold, waiting for answers.
There’s plenty of discussion in the customer service world about how to best piece these channels together for the most effective support strategy. But for talent development leaders, the main objective is to offer access to online customer service training that is both channel-specific and applicable regardless of the mode of interaction.
To build out a program of classes, you need to identify the most important customer service skills.
Many customer service issues can be resolved quickly. But in some cases, there will be complex problems that require patience to get through. Not only that, but it’s critical that customer service agents don’t become frustrated, themselves. Staying patient even with unhappy customers can make all the difference between good and bad service.
The worst thing for any customer service rep to do is provide vague, unclear answers to questions. Simple, straightforward answers are important for relationship building as well as maximizing customer satisfaction.
Language is important for customer service. The difference between “can” and “can’t” could impact the way customers feel following an interaction. Even when delivering bad news, it’s important to focus on the positive and find solutions.
To foster customer loyalty, service reps have to be able to connect on an emotional level. Sometimes, it can be difficult to read what a customer is feeling. However, having empathy for the customer will lead to a more conversational process that builds trust over time.
Good customer service isn’t about forcing employees to read from a “best practices” script. Rather, employees should be armed with innovative techniques that help them adapt to new problems in real time. This will help better serve customers and, in turn, improve the business.
- Become a Customer Service Specialist: These frontline representatives are the face of the business in many ways. Use this learning path to give them everything they need to deliver superior customer service. From digital channels like chat and social media to voice and email, this set of customer service classes will turn your workforce into communication pros.
- Become a Customer Service Manager: Customer-facing skills are important for managers, but their responsibilities run deeper. Problem solving, troubleshooting, and strategy are critical components of customer service management. These courses will help your managers craft a plan for superior performance across the customer service department.
These two Learning Paths only scratch the surface of the customer service skills your employees can learn from our platform. Browse the complete library to get a better idea of how you can facilitate continuous learning for the customer service team.
Leslie O’FlavahanOnline writing expert who specializes in helping organizations improve the quality of customer service responses
Myra GoldenTop customer service blogger who helps companies improve the customer experience through her customer service training
Jill GriffinCustomer loyalty expert, speaker, consultant, Forbes.com columnist and best selling author
Noah FlemingAuthor of Amazon bestselling books covering customer service; President of Fleming Consulting