There's no way around the need to provide your customer service staff with periodic training.
Although many small businesses choose to outsource customer service training to professionals, offsite seminars and third-party trainers can be pricey. Isn't there a way to train your team without destroying your bottom line?
When every penny counts, you can create your own, in-house customer service training program. Although the idea may sound intimidating, it's not uncommon for companies (large and small) to produce their own call center training materials. The advantage is that you can tailor your training program to your specific workflows at a fraction of the cost involved with outsourcing to a third-party training provider.
The structure of your customer service training program will depend on your business model and your overall training strategy. But when creating a customer service training program using in-house resources, make sure the following topics receive adequate attention.
- Results focus. The overriding emphasis of your customer service training program should be bottom line results. Process is important, but ultimately the effectiveness of the department will be judged by metrics like customer loyalty and average call times. Train your team to approach customer service with an eye toward outcomes.
- Skill-building. The bulk of your training program will be designed to improve employee skills in several key areas. Communication, listening, problem solving and other skills are essential for building strong relationships with your customers. Make sure they are thoroughly addressed in your training program.
- Policy reinforcement. If you are creating your training program in-house, you have the opportunity to use it as an opportunity to reinforce your customer service policies. Policy information can be extremely useful in helping workers recognize their operational boundaries.
- Customer philosophy. Another important part of customer service training involves educating call center team members about consumer mindsets and your company's customer philosophy. When you provide your staff with customer profiles, they are better equipped to understand motives and agendas during customer interactions.
- Call center care. Every customer service training program should include elements of employee care. Call centers are highly stressful work environments that can be partially diffused by providing your workers with information about stress management techniques and personal resources.