Customer service training – waste of time or good investment?
For many organisations looking to improve the customer experience, one of the go-to solutions is to jump to training the front line teams, whether they be working in a contact centre, retail, sales teams, B2B or B2C. This well-trodden route seems like an easy answer, but will it deliver the result you are after?
It is difficult to gather data in this area to know true effectiveness. This is partly due to the selective case studies online and the cognitive bias that exists from those who purchase such training (it’s in their interest for it to work). All supplier companies celebrate their best work online (and we are as guilty as any – check out our case studies 😊) but true behaviour change and commercial return appears hard to determine – due to a lack of science and rigour.
So instead of sharing the science we’d like to share our experience from our years of delivering training solutions.
Start with insight and clear commercial objectives
Yes, there may be some generic skills and behaviours that are required by your teams but unless you have insight into the specific challenges for your business, unless you know what experience you need to deliver, unless you know where you are tripping up your customers, how can you design and deliver customer service training? Without this specificity, the chances of training leading to engrained behaviour that makes a difference to your customers and business is next to zero! Training can be a huge part of the solution but it is too often used just to show you are doing something.
We have been working with one major retailer who’s initially challenge was to train their front line teams in delivering a new process and experience. By firstly understanding the Tripping Points of the experience through covert video recording and biometric analysis we could provide essential insight. What was very clear was that this was not a skills training issue. When knowingly on camera, front line teams could deliver the new and improved process well. However, when covertly recorded the front line teams reverted to their usual/comfortable style, choosing not to follow the process. Further training of the process was not the answer. What was required was to show leaders, managers and front line teams why the new process was better. It was about belief. Through our analysis we were able to show why the new process was better for customers, how they felt and how they responded. Enlightening for the teams.
Our 5 vital factors of customer experience training
- Start with real insight – Understand the customer, what causes them stress, what gets in the way, what are their Tripping Points. As an example, we recently carried out work with a major telecoms retailer and one of the tripping points was how the employee asked the customers for their personal data. Now you wouldn’t know this was a stress point for customers without the insight and therefore your training wouldn’t be able to address it.
- Be clear about the experience you are wanting to deliver – Your brand is different to your competitors, your customer experience is different – being clear about this allows you to design the training solution required. With one Fintech business, the primary experience was ensuring that everything worked seamlessly in the background. The need for human intervention only came when the customer needed help. Training here was more about team work, breaking down silos and cumbersome internal processes to get up front of problems and ensure things worked seamlessly.
- Start with leadership – With one social housing company who asked us for training, through a small piece of insight work, we recognised that without engaging the leadership team, any front line customer service training would not deliver the expected returns. We worked with this group to break down the silos and focus on their personal behaviour to improve the customer experience.
- Be Bespoke – Don’t rely on generic customer service training to deliver the results. You need a bespoke solution for your unique needs.
- Measure results – Training is not something to be measured by how many people have been through it. The success is the change to behaviour, the commercial return, the improvement in customer experience, the engagement of your employees. Measure it rigorously
More on our approach to customer service training.