Customer service is tough. The expectations of the role seem clear - it's about helping and guiding customers, solving their problems and answering their questions. But the bottom line, how do you actually do this is easier said than done. For this reasonTraining and continuing education in customer serviceit's so important. To keep and keep customers happy so you can grow your business, you must make it a priority to train employees so that they are prepared to respond to customer needs. In fact, we found thatCustomer-centric companies are 60% more profitablethan companies that do not prioritize customer service. Your customer service training should cover three aspects of the service role: attitude, skills, and knowledge. By developing your team in each of these areas, you can provide comprehensive resources to resolve almost any customer issue. Here are some customer service training ideas to help you build a strong educational foundation, no matter what industry you're in. Reflective listening repeats what people say when you respond to them. This is extremely helpfulCustomer service capabilitythis ensures that you and your customers are on the same page. It also helps customers feel heard when dealing with a frustrating or urgent issue. To improve your reflective listening skills, divide team members into pairs and ask them to take turns responding to their partner through reflective listening. Here is an example: Sara:Hi, more money was taken from my account than usual and I didn't authorize it. i need my money back Miguel:Hi Sarah, sorry you were billed twice this month. I will make sure you get your money back in full. Just to confirm, you don't see any other unusual payments, right? Taking the time to replay Sarah's problem helps Miguel quickly identify and diagnose his problem and reassures Sarah that help for her problem is on the way. A great test for new support reps to do before picking up the phone is a product demo. Product demos are deep dives that ensure service personnel know the product or service inside out. Sales reps should be tasked with giving a 10-15 minute product presentation and demonstration - walking a potential "customer" through everything they need to know to use it successfully. Managers should pay attention to their ability to explain complicated topics succinctly and clearly - and ensure they know how to use and explain all facets of the product, its website or app and its features. free template Feedback is the breakfast of champions – and supporters and vendors alike. call for commentsare a common practice of successful customer support teams. (We do that here at HubSpot.) Teams should meet regularly to listen to a taped conversation with a customer and discuss what went well and what could be improved. Actual phone calls can provide insight into true expectations, and input from team members can provide a unique perspective to help salespeople continually improve. One of the most traditional ways to train service teams is through a presentation. In this method, management or team leaders bring employees together for a meeting and then discuss a service issue in depth. This allows the speaker to respond to specific training materials, while the rest of the team has the opportunity to provide feedback or ask questions. there are a fewtypes of presentationswith which you can conduct training. Let's look at some below.
Customer service training topics
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1. Reflective listening
2. Product demonstration
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4. Customer Service Training Presentations
Customer service is tough.
The expectations of the role seem clear - it's about helping and guiding customers, solving their problems and answering their questions.
But the bottom line, how do you actually do this is easier said than done.
For this reasonTraining and continuing education in customer serviceit's so important. To keep and keep customers happy so you can grow your business, you must make it a priority to train employees so that they are prepared to respond to customer needs. In fact, we found thatCustomer-centric companies are 60% more profitablethan companies that do not prioritize customer service.
Your customer service training should cover three aspects of the service role: attitude, skills, and knowledge. By developing your team in each of these areas, you can provide comprehensive resources to resolve almost any customer issue.
Here are some customer service training ideas to help you build a strong educational foundation, no matter what industry you're in.
Reflective listening repeats what people say when you respond to them. This is extremely helpfulCustomer service capabilitythis ensures that you and your customers are on the same page. It also helps customers feel heard when dealing with a frustrating or urgent issue.
To improve your reflective listening skills, divide team members into pairs and ask them to take turns responding to their partner through reflective listening.
Here is an example:
Sara:Hi, more money was taken from my account than usual and I didn't authorize it. i need my money back
Miguel:Hi Sarah, sorry you were billed twice this month. I will make sure you get your money back in full. Just to confirm, you don't see any other unusual payments, right?
Taking the time to replay Sarah's problem helps Miguel quickly identify and diagnose his problem and reassures Sarah that help for her problem is on the way.
A great test for new support reps to do before picking up the phone is a product demo. Product demos are deep dives that ensure service personnel know the product or service inside out.
Sales reps should be tasked with giving a 10-15 minute product presentation and demonstration - walking a potential "customer" through everything they need to know to use it successfully.
Managers should pay attention to their ability to explain complicated topics succinctly and clearly - and ensure they know how to use and explain all facets of the product, its website or app and its features.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions – and supporters and vendors alike.
call for commentsare a common practice of successful customer support teams. (We do that here at HubSpot.) Teams should meet regularly to listen to a taped conversation with a customer and discuss what went well and what could be improved. Actual phone calls can provide insight into true expectations, and input from team members can provide a unique perspective to help salespeople continually improve.
One of the most traditional ways to train service teams is through a presentation. In this method, management or team leaders bring employees together for a meeting and then discuss a service issue in depth. This allows the speaker to respond to specific training materials, while the rest of the team has the opportunity to provide feedback or ask questions.
there are a fewtypes of presentationswith which you can conduct training. Let's look at some below.
Visuals like PowerPoints and charts are a great way to engage a larger audience. These images will clarify and support your talking points, making your presentation easier to understand and more impactful for the listener.
PowerPoints are a proven format for customer service training; However, if you choose to go this route, be sure to avoid some of the common pitfalls outlined in this video.
If you are looking for a motivational format, you can try storytelling. With this presentation, the speaker relates relevant experiences to his audience. They summarize what happened, why it happened, and how they overcame it. Not only does this provide the audience with an actionable plan, but it also shows how someone on your team has overcome customer service hurdles.
Instructions should be used when introducing a new or complex topic to your audience. For example, if you are launching a new product, you could do a presentation explaining what it is, how it works and why it was created.
In these scenarios, speakers often use metaphors and paradoxes to compare fuzzy points with other topics the audience is more familiar with. It makes a complex topic much easier to understand because the speaker has tied it to a relatable concept.
questions and answers
Question and Answer or Q&A is a more intimate presentation style than those listed above. In this approach, the speaker briefly discusses a topic and then opens the floor to allow the audience to ask questions. This is ideal for smaller listeners, as each person has the opportunity to participate in the group discussion. Questions and answers are a great format for engaging employees, but they require the speaker to have in-depth knowledge of the topic of the presentation.
If these options aren't right for you, check out more presentation stylesHere.
5. Sensitivity training
The beauty of hiring a diverse workforce is that your employees find unique perspectives they may never have experienced before. While this diversity is great for encouraging new ideas, it can also create friction between teammates.
As the owner or manager, it's your job to make sure everyone is working toward the same goal. Sensitivity training is an exercise that helps employees understand their professional goals as well as their personal biases. By digging deeper into these issues, employees can understand each other better and are more aware of their differences.
Regardless of how well your team works together, it's important to conduct regular awareness training. This will remind employees how to deal with each other and how to voice their opinions when faced with an issue. By consistently reviewing these ideas, new hires will feel more comfortable joining your team, making them more productive right from the start.
6. Customer experience simulation
Simulating the customer experience is essentially the inverse of role-playing. Instead of interacting with a fake customer, the service representative becomes the customer and goes through the experience of purchasing your product or service.
The benefit of this exercise is that sales reps can see the roadblocks they are fixing from the user's perspective. They can refer to the frustration or disappointment that customers feel when things go wrong or when expectations are not met. That way, by working with real customers, they better understand what people are going through and how to solve their problems.
7. Social media training
Social media is a key component of a robustOmnicanalsupport solution. In fact, customers expect great service from brands on social media channels. Around49% of consumers say they will unfollow a businesson social media due to poor customer service, so your team should have resources dedicated to supporting these channels.
However, social media is still relatively new to customer service, and not all of your sales reps may have as much experience using these platforms for professional purposes as they do for personal updates. Atraining courseIt can be helpful to teach them how to use social media (Here's one from HubSpot Academy). In this way, communication on social channels becomes more fluid and more pleasant customer experiences are created.
8. Product details
If your company sells a physical product rather than software or services, it can be helpful for employees to see how the product works inside and out. Disassemble your product in front of your employees and show them step by step how to assemble it. Let them know where your product's features come from and how the day-to-day manufacturing process is done. Employees who don't work closely with your products can benefit from this.
Of course, if your product is software, it can be difficult to disassemble. Instead, talk to your employees about where your servers are located and how your software runs.Discuss contingency plans for potential shutdownsand what employees can share with customers when they request confidential information. When you provide software to companies, it's not uncommon to get calls from your IT teams, and it can really set your support team apart when they can share this information in real time.
9. Corporate culture training
Company culture is extremely important to customer service employees. That's because they work with customers on the front lines and act as the face of your company. If they don't believe in your company culture, your customers certainly won't either.
Corporate culture training does not have to be extensive, but it should be consistent. Every day, in some form, employees should be reminded of their company's core values and how they contribute to that culture.
One way to do this is with acode of culture. This resource lists all of the company's values and what it expects from its employees. This will help you hold your employees accountable and show your customers that you are committed to creating a positive experience.
10. Crisis Communication
Every business makes mistakes, but the best companies know how to clean up their mess. And they know it starts with their customer service teams.
Successful companies don't wait for a problem to arise, they anticipate it and prepare their teams accordingly. You createCrisis communication plansand train each sales rep on how to answer common questions customers will have about the company. This preparation could mean the difference between your team saving loyal customers or losing them to churn.
Customer service teams are often very busy and you may not have time for formal training. However, this does not stop your team from carrying out activities that can help them improve their skills.
If this is the case for your business, you should try the following exercises to improve your customer service skills.
Customer service training exercises
- fake calls
- not allowed
- role playing game
- lunch and study
- personality tests
- Call your competitor
- Employee Voices
- postural anchor
- customer letters
1. Fake calls
Similar to the reflective listening exercise, mock calls are a proven strategy for practicing a job before doing it.
Team members should be paired and given real life scenarios that account managers have to deal with every day - simple and difficult. Allow support agents to switch between customer and support agent roles so they can get an idea of how to handle common issues and how to adapt to stressful calls.
Team members playing the customer role should feel free to be creative - all customers are different, and support reps should be prepared to adapt to different situations and personalities before speaking to real customers.
2. No, it's not allowed
This exercise shows support agents how helpful they can still be when they aren't giving a customer the answer they want to hear.
There is only one rule: Don't say no. (This includes all "no"-oriented words and phrases, such as "I don't know" and "We don't do that.")
This exercise asks support agents to reframe a conversation with a customer when the answer is really "no". But when customers are angry or frustrated, answering their questions with a round "no" and not moving the conversation forward can upset them.
Team members should be split into pairs and take turns representing the customer and support team. "Customers" must make big, bold requests that support reps can't say "no" to - instead, they need to come up with a solution-focused answer.
For example, if the customer requests a discount that the support agent is not allowed to offer, instead of saying "no", the agent might say, "If you would like to lower the cost of your CRM subscription, I can help your database under $1,000." to consolidate contacts. Would you like help setting it up?”
The support agent is essentially telling the customer that they cannot offer a discount. But by offering alternative options, the customer can feel that the support agent is on their side and won't be frustrated by what they perceive as stubbornness or inflexibility.
Improving your customer service skills is like improving your golf swing. You have to practice over and over again until you get it perfect - or in my case until you find the ball after hitting it.
role playing gameit's an effective exercise to improve customer service skills. An employee pretends to be a customer and presents a service case for another to resolve. Once the case is resolved, the employees change places and repeat the scenario.
Through role-play, sales reps can work on both their communication skills and their problem-solving process. Not dealing with an actual customer gives sales reps a safety net to practice new techniques they may never have tried before. When your team works face-to-face with customers, this exercise gives them a live environment where they can hone their skills risk-freeto knock.
4. Lunch and study
Support teams should regularly take turns presenting together over lunch. The topic doesn't matter - it could be work related or it could be a presentation about your last vacation photos or an organization you volunteer for. Whatever the topic,lunch and studywill get the support team used to being able to present and explain new topics to others.
This is a crucial skill for the support team, especially when onboarding new customers who may not be familiar with using a product or service. Plus, lunch and study provide a safe space for employees to practice – and learn from each other outside of work.
Sometimes working on the front lines of customer support can be very stressful.
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you can be blamed for an issue that is completely out of your control. You might also take the brunt of a customer's frustration and be met with feedback that isn't particularly tactful.
However, meditation can be a useful tool for recovering and restoring mental relaxation - even in the middle of a busy day.
Spending time on meditation, mindfulness and relaxation – and encouraging employees to use it for this purpose – helps them manage stress and stay positive during difficult times with customers. Apps likefree spaceorYouTube videosit can help if you also want to practice as a team.
6. Personality Tests
This isn't specific to customer support, but it's a good idea for new salespeople to take a personality test to learn how they best work and communicate with others.
A framework you can use is thisDiSG-Profil, which evaluates people's behavioral and personality differences. Here is an example profile below.
Other tests include theMyers-Briggs-Typenindikator(MBTI) and orPredictive index score(PI). All of this can provide support agents with useful information about how they work best, how they communicate with others, and possible sources of conflict they may encounter.
You cannot control the customer's personality - but you can control your own reactions and responses. Discovering the “why” behind your actions is a good first step.
7. Call your competitor
Your service reps are responsible for keeping customers from running to your competitors. So it's only fair that your team knows what they're dealing with.
Have your team call your competitor's customer service number and, if possible, buy one of their products or free trials. Ask routine questions and pay attention to various details during the call, such as the agent's tone of voice, the tone of his voice, how quickly he responded, what kind of follow-up options he offered, etc. will set the standard your team needs to excel.
8. Employee References
Your most experienced salespeople are among your team's most valuable assets. You've seen your product and your business grow with itcustomer baseand attended all the speed limits and roadblocks along the way. Use their stories as testimonials for how your new sales reps should treat customers.
For example, if a sales rep had a really positive interaction with a customer, get them talking about that call and what they did to create such an enjoyable experience. Or, if the interaction is significantly negative, discuss the mistakes made and what could be done next time to avoid a similar outcome. This exercise can help sales reps master soft skills that can dramatically impact a customer service case.
9. Settings anchor
Attitude Anchor is an activity that helps sales reps manage their emotions. Divide your team into groups and ask each group to create two different types of anchors: maintenance anchors and repair anchors.
Maintenance anchors are actions that can be taken to maintain a positive attitude. These are things sales reps use during a call to keep them motivated and upbeat. Here are some examples of maintenance anchors:
- Maintain a good work-life balance by spending time with friends and family after work.
- Put your best to work getting enough sleep every night.
- Relieve stress by reminding yourself of three things or people you are grateful for every day.
Fixing anchors are things that can be done to correct negative attitudes. These are after call activities so agents can quickly go back and work with another customer. Every sales rep will have a bad call, and it's important not to carry your negative emotions over to the next one. Repair anchors might look like this:
- After a tough conversation with a customer, take a walk around the block.
- If you can't solve a problem for your customer, give yourself positive affirmations like, "I did my best and I'm proud of it."
- If you're feeling less motivated than usual, talk to a colleague or family member you admire to lift your spirits.
Once each list is created, post it where sales reps can easily see it. This way, they can apply any exercise as it is applicable during their workday.
10. Customer Letters
When sales reps feel undervalued by their customers – or even senior management – let them write customer letters. These are letters written from the customer's point of view and addressed to the customer service agent.
This exercise gets sales reps thinking about all the good things they've done for their customers. And that's important too, because it can often be difficult to measure the value that customer service representatives add to a business. But when they think about it on a customer-by-customer basis, it becomes much easier to see how important your team is to your overall business.
Customer service training ideas
- Calling Shadow Support
- Check customer service standards.
- Cover specific topics (less than an hour).
- Practice being a good customer.
- Ask quick questions and answers about products.
- Scenario discussions.
- Show instead of tell (video).
- Check the knowledge base materials.
- Start a mentoring program.
- request feedback.
1. Shadow support calls.
Whether you're training a new employee or a more experienced one, tracking support calls is a useful way to understand a few things about how your company handles service interactions.
First, they sense the nature of incoming calls. After enough calls, they begin to predict some of the most common problems.
Then your sales reps will understand which types of solutions work best for specific situations. For example, while there is likely to be an extremely helpful knowledge base article on troubleshooting common product errors, for now, walking the customer through troubleshooting may be a better solution than sharing a step-by-step document.
Eventually new and experienced sales reps will understand the pace of conversations the sales rep has with different customers. Someone might want to get straight to the point without too much small talk, while other customers appreciate the representative relationship with them.
2. Check customer service standards.
Once your team is comfortable with customer service processes and procedures, they need to maintain your company's.service standards. Standards can sometimes fall by the wayside when reaching a quota is the team's immediate goal each week. Casual conversations about your company's customer service standards absolutely count as training and are an easy way to keep this important objective at the center of your daily processes and activities.
A casual message, an email or a quick statement in a quick meeting are all ways to put customer service standards on everyone's lips.
3. Covers specific trainings quickly.
microaprendizagemcrumblesemployee traininginto manageable chunks, which helps sales reps learn faster and apply each lesson quickly. With short training sessions, ideally under 30 minutes, service reps will be more willing to participate and retain more information later.
Microlearning can be used to cover specific areas of training much more quickly than would be possible with a one-hour training course on many different topics. Microlearning training can cover topics such as the most common customer complaint or a documentation process.
4. Practice being a good customer.
One of the best ways to build empathy is to take the customer's perspective. What better way to do this than to recognize good customer service in your everyday life?
There's an interesting argument that a good customer makes for great customer service. Making eye contact, smiling and being friendly can go a long way in getting the best service from an account manager.
After receiving this high-level service, study the team's techniques. How do they answer your questions? Do they confirm your problem so they can offer you the best solution? All of these factors and more can be discovered by being a customer yourself. The best part is that what you learn from these interactions with your own customers can be immediately applied to your next calls.
5. Conduct quick questions and answers about products.
Every great customer service representative knows their products like the back of their hand. Testing this knowledge can be a fun and competitive way to onboard the team for a customer service training session.
6. Conduct scenario discussions.
As a manager, you can review your knowledge base or product manuals to create trivia questions for sales reps to answer individually or as a team. The friendly competition and gamification of the training session can help sales reps validate what they already know and retain what they don't, so they can apply their product knowledge after the game when offering solutions to customer problems.
Scenario discussions are an interactive icebreaker, especially if you are coaching a large group. You start by creating several scenarios, each addressing a different customer issue. The scenario does not contain a solution.
Then break the group into smaller teams to discuss the scenario. Then each group decides on a course of action to help the customer in a given situation. Once all solutions have been decided upon in the groups, bring everyone together and ask a representative from each team to read their scenario aloud and explain how they would solve it. This training idea can be done virtually or in person with large or small groups.
7. Show instead of tell.
panoptofound in a 2019 study that employees are 75% more likely to watch videos than read text. Combine this insight with the microlearning stats mentioned earlier and you have a powerful training tool your team will love to use.
Showing your team how to follow a process with a short video clip can be much more effective than sending a step-by-step email (although that extra feature doesn't hurt!). Showing both the problem and the solution in the same video can make the training context clearer, especially if you add narration to the video. tools liketearEEnlargementcan make video training quick and easy.
8. Check knowledge base materials.
most customersReview your self-service options for resolving issues with your products before picking up the phone or emailing their customer service team.
This training tip is two goals in one. First, your sales reps can review the materials on theirknowledge baseto better solve customer problems. After all, if you point your customers to the knowledge base, it has to be up-to-date and useful, right?
If it requires some work, the second objective can be achieved. Your sales reps will notice outdated or inaccurate information, which they can update to provide the customer with a better self-service experience.
9. Start a mentoring program.
As a manager, no matter how hard you try, you can't be everywhere at once. Training should be an ongoing priority on your team, whether you oversee all aspects or delegate parts to the team members best suited to deliver. One way to do this is to start a mentorship program for your customer service team. Whether it's a formal pairing or a more casual hookup, you can count on a more experienced team to help coach those just starting out.
Many of the tips, topics, and ideas mentioned so far can help your team deliver exceptional customer service. But what about training that helps the team work better together?
10. Solicite feedback.
After each training session, you should seek feedback from the team to assess whether the method, content or delivery was helpful or detrimental to learning. This data can be collected quantitatively through a ranking system or qualitatively in an open-ended survey. Regardless of the format, getting feedback on your training program is the number one way to improve it so your sales reps can do the work they do best.
Below, we'll discuss some tips to help make customer service training more effective and "solid".
Customer service training tips
- Start the mission.
- Double your communication training.
- Make training fun and engaging.
- Connect training with real-world scenarios.
- Emphasize the process.
- Provide robust built-in features.
- Provide ongoing training.
1. Start the quest.
Customer experience is commonplace, so almost everyone has an idea of what “good” customer service looks like. However, these ideas may not be specific enough or may not match the vision you have for your business.
With that in mind, start by setting expectations so everyone starts on the same page. Define the mission and big picture and your role in it.
2. Double down on your communication training.
Customers don't just want their problems solved for them; they want to behe heard. Practiceactive listening and communication techniquesis key to delivering great experiences, and by nurturing these skills in your team, you set them up for success.
Even better, tackling these concepts early on will equip you with new skills that you can practice for the remainder of your workout (which is to your advantage as a trainer).
3. Make training fun and engaging.
People learn in different ways. There are visual learners, auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, and more. This means that putting new hires in front of a training video isn't enough to generate maximum retention, and worse, it can lead to a nap party.
To make your workout effective you need a lotinserttheir representatives. This can be done with interactive elements designed to keep them engaged and interested in the material. Don't be afraid to have fun with it too.
4. Connect training to real scenarios.
If you find yourself using games or other alternative methods to convey certain concepts, keep coming back to reinforce the mission and your role. This helps reinforce their understanding of the concept so they can apply it in their everyday lives.
Shadow sessions and role play are great for this reason. They can get a feel for the real scenarios they will encounter before diving into them.
5. Emphasize the process.
In an unfamiliar situation, a familiar process may be enough to help new salespeople spread their wings and step into their shoes. In other words, knowing what to do when they don't know what to do will enable them to face situations they are not familiar with.
For this reason, it is important to have processes and systems in place and emphasize their early adoption.
6. Provide robust built-in features.
Employees won't rememberallof education; Going out and doing it helps with retention and builds competence.
As such, they should always be encouraged to turn to whatever resources are available for assistance. Wikis, knowledge bases, and other forms ofInternal documentationit can help sellers help themselves (if these resources are organized and nurtured).
7. Provide ongoing training.
It's also easy for sales reps to stagnate or develop bad habits. Be sure to provide enough continuing education to reinforce what they learned during onboarding and encourage their skill development.
Customer service training your team will love
Outside of team meetings, there are many online resources that customer support and service reps can use to constantly improve. Whether your customer service team is short on time or working completely remotely, these topics, tips, and ideas are sure to inspire and motivate your sales reps to provide the very best service to your customers. A mix of interactive, team-oriented, and role-play activities will keep the training engaging so your sales reps understand and remember the information.
When you're ready to plan your next customer service training, use the template below to get started.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2020 and has been updated for completeness.