5 Tips for Training Customer Service Agents

Customer service agents work on the front lines of a company, as they are constantly engaged with customers. For this reason, they are more than just informed employees ready to solve a problem—they represent the human aspect of a brand, both the face and the voice of a company’s products, services, and values. So when customers reach out for service, they will be attentive to much more than just finding a solution to an issue—the quality of a service interaction can make the difference between customer churn and loyalty. Considering a few compelling statistics: A Harris Interactive study found that, according to the consumers polled, customer service agents failed to answer their questions 50% of the time. A Lee Resources study found that 91% of unhappy customers would not agree to do business with a brand again. However, in the same poll, 70% would consider doing business again if the brand were to resolve their complaints. With these five tips, customer service agents can be trained to deliver exceptional customer service.Analyze both customer and agent feedback to understand customer needs. Customer service surveys are not just for analyzing the quality of a single interaction or monitoring one agent’s progress. These surveys are critical to understanding how a company can improve its functions, products, and services as a whole. Analyzing customer feedback is therefore important to the creation of knowledge bases such as frequently asked questions (FAQs), while prompting further communication across the departments of a brand for improved service and strategy. In addition, customer service agents should be consulted for their feedback on common issues they perceive in their daily interactions. Agents are a key source of knowledge for best practices, so their experiences should count heavily in agent training.Use call scripts for greater consistency across staff. While a critical aspect to great customer service is giving customers a personalized experience, it’s nonetheless important for agents to be consistent in their responses. Call scripts should include FAQs and positive phrases for agents to use during difficult interactions, as well as any other pertinent information that could help make a customer service interaction seamless. Consistency in a brand—from sales practices to customer service behavior to a brand’s logo and web design—is vital to attracting and retaining customers.Focus on the human aspect with behavior training. Call scripts aside, agents need to get a feel for what a customer wants and needs while projecting their own personalities during service interactions. For that reason, roleplaying with hypothetical situations is essential to helping agents find their personal style of communication and better understanding the potentially emotional nature of customers during service interactions (think of the anxious or angry customer). It’s also useful to film agents during training in order to review and revise their practices with the support of other agents and training managers.Use clear and concise objectives with real-life examples during training sessions. Like a student, an agent needs a clear outline of what he or she needs to learn to better absorb information. This means that training sessions should feature clear, concise objectives that are clearly outlined in small chunks of text. Giving agents long pages of training material without real-life examples is hard to digest, so texts broken down into real-life, concrete examples supported by visuals (infographics) are key to making training informative and effective. Video tutorials are another great way to engage agents and appeal to different learning styles.Keep agents informed with updated brand information. If agents are to speak accurately about a brand, they need to be given the most up-to-date information on any new products or services. In addition, if there are any exceptional updates they should know about—a product recall or a seasonal sale, for example—they need to have immediate access to this information. By keeping agents knowledgeable about company practices, customers will never have to complain about an unskilled agent again—leafing to brand loyalty.Customer service agents are brand ambassadors, and they can only perform at their best when equipped with the right tools and some guidance toward giving service a personal touch. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for excellent omnichannel customer service.

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