Customer Service Online Training Course: Which Work-Life Skills You Should Cover
If it was your job to smile while being yelled at all day, what kind of help would you want? And it’s not the kind of job where you can ignore your ‘hecklers’. You have to listen to them, figure out why they’re mad, and fix the problem. That’s the job description for any customer care agent. In many places, people mistake it as an ‘entry level’ job that requires minimal experience. Yet it can make or break your brand, literally. Your customer service employees are your brand’s infantry, so you want them to be calm, effective, fulfilled, and avoid getting in the line of fire. Here are 5 work-life skills to promote in your customer service online training course.
5 Skills To Cultivate In Your Customer Service Team
1. Patience And Perseverance
Your customer service employees have to stay calm as they listen to complaints. They need empathy, so they can see things from the customer’s perspective. They also need practiced detachment to avoid taking those endless verbal attacks to heart. Many times, customer service employees can’t really solve the problem, but they have to absorb the customer’s ire and take the blame. Arm them to do this by teaching them to speak positively and make connections.
Move beyond clichés like ‘we apologize for the inconvenience’ or ‘we’ve escalated the matter.’ Scripts and templates are helpful, but teach them how to embellish and use human language. Show them how to inject some of their personality into their customer exchanges. Experience shows that people just want to be listened to and feel valued. A kind, polite customer care agent gets a more positive review than a brusque one who actually solves the problem. Simulated calls can give your corporate learners practice in expanding their scripted wording.
Customer care is a mix of marketing and hostage negotiation. You have to talk them down and convince them that your brand is still worth their time. And you have to do it knowing you probably have no real power to solve their problem. You’re aware they may ask for your manager, which reflects badly on you. This is where your persuasive skills come in. You need to communicate clearly in a warm, open, genuine way. This can be hard when you’ve been fielding abuse from other customers all day. Train your customer care team on word-framing. They should take responsibility for the problem without offering culpability.
This is really important because culpability could create a basis for lawsuits. Teach them smart phrasing. ‘This is the very specific way in which we messed up, and this is what we’re doing to fix it.’ That puts the onus on a specific tool, service, or function rather than the brand. It soothes the customer while limiting liability. Similarly, ‘I’m sorry’ says ‘It’s my fault’ but ‘I apologize’ says ‘This is bad, let me fix it.’ Never shift blame to other brands, or make the customer feel it’s somehow their fault. Develop these skills in your customer service online training course through quick-fire branching scenarios. Employees learn to perform under fire and see all the ways a situation can escalate.
3. Curiosity And The Constant Pursuit Of Knowledge
There’s a popular mug that reads ‘Don’t confuse your Google search with my medical degree.’ This isn’t a sentiment you want from tour customer care reps. Today’s customer doesn’t rush for tech support as a reflex. It’s generally a last resort after their own troubleshooting has failed to resolve the issue. So, if your employees realize the customer knows more than they do, they need to be graceful and light-touch about it. Instead of getting snippy or pretending to know what they don’t, they should let curiosity work its magic. Give your reps lots of on-the-line simulations to show them how to work around the ‘expert customer’, which also sheds light on topics they may need to explore in greater depth. Thereby, fueling their thirst for knowledge and highlighting personal knowledge and performance gaps.
4. Time Management
Your customer service employees need to have the patience to provide better service, but that rule doesn’t apply to your customers. In fact, they usually want to get in, get out, and go about their day. But they also want a great experience while they’re interacting with your brand. As such, your employees need strong time management skills to tackle challenges quickly and make the most of their workday. This skill helps them in their personal lives, as well, since it makes them more productive and organized. Which also reduces stress levels.
5. Active Listening
The sign of an effective communicator is being able to listen as well as articulate his/her own ideas. As such, your customer service employees should be adept active listeners who identify customers’ needs and read subtle cues. For example, they should be able to go beyond what the customer says by reading their body language and expressions. One of the best ways to impart this skill is through group collaboration projects and persona-based simulations. Employees must be able to assess the situation through active listening, then figure out how they can appease the customer. In the case of group collaboration projects, working with peers naturally helps to build social skills and communication abilities.
Customer care is one of the toughest and most thankless jobs out there. Develop an effective customer service online training course for their benefit, and your customers’ too. Build online training simulations that will develop their patience and empathy while toughening them against ranting customers. Give them lots of practice in positive spinning without sounding trite or smarmy. Equip them to think on their feet and not get flustered when they don’t have all the answers. Most of all, offer them keen skills in targeted listening and creative problem-solving. Push past ‘Here’s your reference number…’ so they can make a real impact on their careers and your customers.
How do you achieve rapid results and bring your customer service new hires up to speed? Download our eBook Racing The Customer Service Clock for more info about soft skills development and tips to choose the best outsourcing partner.