Customer Service Training: Best Ideas and Resources
Ask yourself the one-million-dollar question, “How can I upskill my customer service department without switching on a boring PowerPoint presentation?” Don’t worry about sounding boring — we’ve got you covered with a bunch of engaging customer service training ideas that you can steal. But before diving deeper into practical exercises and games, let’s first see what customer service training is.
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What Is Customer Service Training?
Customer service training refers to measures aimed at boosting the knowledge and skills of your customer service team. The training’s primary goal is to have your agents serve customers better and excel at meeting their expectations and needs.
Customer service training involves developing your employee’s hard and soft skills. Hard skills refer to technical knowledge. Soft skills involve:
- Becoming a better team player.
- Noticing and managing emotions better.
- Becoming more adaptable.
- Supporting work ethics.
So now you know what customer service training involves. It’s time for the core question — why should you introduce it to your team?
Key Reasons for Introducing Customer Service Training
It’s estimated that acquiring a new customer is at least five times more expensive than retaining an existing one. That’s why it’s so important to keep your customers happy, and it’s not possible without providing excellent customer service on all social media channels and beyond.
By responding to all these requests from one place using tools such as Juphy, you can provide support faster and, as a result, boost customer satisfaction.
While extremely important, the benefits of customer service training are not only limited to the monetary aspect. Let’s take a look at these four crucial reasons for introducing customer service training.
- Positive Attitude
Emotions play an essential role in creating a positive customer experience.
It’s easier to emanate positive emotions with friendly customers. But what about the negative characters who act with entitlement tendencies? No one wants to deal with those.
However, your customer service agents should know how to handle difficult clients as well — they will talk to quite a few during their careers.
With customer service training, your agents can learn the right frameworks and skills that help bring a positive attitude to any conversation, even a difficult one.
- Active Listening
Resolving a problem starts with listening to a customer and getting to the root of the issue. Active listening requires customer service agents to ask more questions and let customers speak up.
There are people who develop the skill of active listening earlier in life, but it’s not inherent to certain types of people — anyone can learn it.
Polishing the skill of active listening helps customer service agents create clarifying questions, demonstrate concern, build trust, and establish rapport.
- Boosting Empathy
Putting yourself in a customer’s boots helps you understand their problem and search for a more effective solution.
While not all problems can be solved, it’s important to get customers to feel understood and listened to. Your agents’ kind and considerate approach will leave a positive impression that is difficult to forget.
Empathy is the skill one can develop. Thanks to customer service training, your agents will become more empathetic and caring — your customers will appreciate it.
- Improving Communication
Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” The skill of breaking down complex concepts into simpler ones is important to build rapport with customers.
Customers don’t want to listen to difficult terminology — they just want to resolve a problem. Explaining the suggested solutions and the process of solving a problem is the first step to getting a customer’s buy-in. When kept well-informed about introduced solutions, customers won’t feel uncertain about the outcome.
Customer service training on communication skills helps agents describe problems and solutions in the language that a customer would understand. It helps develop a sense of the right balance between clarity and complexity of the used vocabulary.
10 Customer Service Training Ideas
Tap into these customer service training ideas to make your training engaging and fun.
1. Job Shadowing
Learning by example is a great way to acquire new skills in a short period of time. Pair your junior agents with more experienced ones. Let them observe how senior employees deal with different situations and what daily rituals or routines accompany them.
2. Buddy Program
The first days at work can be stressful — one can easily feel lost in organizational procedures. Customer service leaders can’t always help every new hire as their time is limited.
That’s why it’s worth pairing new hires with other, more experienced agents who can introduce them to the company’s processes and support them with any issue. There are many benefits to buddy programs — check out some of them below.
3. Social Media Training
These days, social media is another place where customers reach out to brands with issues or complaints. Knowing how to manage communication with clients on different social media platforms is a crucial skill. Make the process of managing social media accounts easier for your agents — give them access to media collaboration tools such as Juphy, so they can manage all accounts from one dashboard. As a result, they will respond to customer inquiries faster.
Learn tips, tricks, and secrets of social media customer service with this free e-book. Download it for free now!
4. Internal Knowledge Base
Have you noticed that new hires often ask similar questions during onboarding? Answering all of them over and over again leaves you with less time you could otherwise spend on more crucial tasks. Creating an internal knowledge base can become a solution.
To launch one, collect the most frequently asked questions and write answers to them. Add supportive materials — screenshots, images, or videos.
5. Presentation Sessions
Invest time in sharing core skills and experience with your colleagues. Ask your team what issues or challenges they face and where they need the most support. Tailor a presentation that would go deeper into the topics and offer exercises that help acquire hands-on work experience.
6. Skills Gap Analysis
Skill gap analysis can help understand what skills your employees need to polish and create a plan to help develop them. A skill gap analysis is based on listing the core skills your team should have. Then, you ask your employees to rank their skill level in the listed categories. Together, you can set up their priority and an action plan. Then, you can hire a coach or trainer with a decent contract template from a contract maker to fill the identified gaps.
Here is an example of a sheet with the skills gap analysis.
7. Sensitivity Training
Everyone is different, but everyone should respect each other’s differences to work as one team and reach goals together. However, differences often lead to friction in a team.
That’s because employees don’t always understand each other’s goals and motivations. Sensitivity training can help notice the differences and personal biases and work on embracing them.
8. Video Tutorials
Video tutorials are a great time-saver — you can record them when it’s convenient for you, and your agents can watch them when they have spare time.
While it’s common for a customer service director to record videos, regular employees who have unique knowledge to share can do so as well.
You can create a database with video tutorials using a video presentation tool and distribute it to everyone interested in learning something new.
9. LAST Methodology
LAST stands for Listen, Acknowledge, Solve, Thank. These are the steps that a customer support agent should follow when having a conversation with a customer. When explaining this methodology to your team, make sure they learn it by heart and stick to it with each call.
Watch this video to learn more about LAST in customer service.
10. Call Review
Call review sessions are a great tool to get more hands-on work experience and learn by doing. For a call review, get your team together, listen to selected calls and analyze how well it went, spot the issues in the agents’ approach to customers, and come to a conclusion on what could be done better.
14 Customer Service Training Exercises
Customer service training can be fun for everyone. Here are some exercise ideas to help you develop your team’s hard and soft skills.
1. Mock Calls
Mock calls are a great exercise that can precede real conversations with clients. To organize mock calls, prepare different scenarios for common situations that your customer service agents deal with every day.
Then, divide agents into pairs and let them perform a call — one agent should represent a customer and the other — a customer service agent. Observe where your agents face the most difficulties and provide them with tips to help improve their technique.
2. The Game of No
Customers don’t like hearing “no”, so you have to train your agents to avoid using this word. The Game of “No” is a great exercise for agents that helps create more positive responses to customer questions.
During this exercise, one support agent asks all possible questions that require saying “no”. The other support agent should find creative ways to respond while avoiding this word.
3. “Here’s What, This is Why“
Adding more context to their questions can help support agents get more information from a customer. As a result, they can solve customer problems much faster compared to receiving a more general answer.
To organize this game, you have to pick two agents. One agent should ask random questions, and the other — respond. Here is an example:
- What restaurant are you going to today?
After hearing a response, the first agent should proceed with the same question but add more context to it. Here is an example:
- You have an unlimited budget and can choose even the most expensive restaurant in the world. What restaurant are you going to today?
Role-playing can prepare agents for difficult conversations with customers. To do this exercise, work out different scenarios of conversations with customers who swear, never agree, beg for a discount, or keep asking the same questions.
Next, organize a role-playing session where the first agent plays a role of a difficult customer and the other one — offers help.
5. Crisis Management
Prepare a description of a crisis with no direct solution. Next, divide your customer service team into two groups and assign them the task of finding a solution to a crisis. Once they are ready to present their solutions, ask them to explain why they have chosen their approach.
6. Lunch and Learn
“Lunch and learn” exercise involves organizing a group lunch where customer service agents can share their presentations.
These presentations can deal with any topic — their vacations, hobby, or favorite book. The idea here is to provide reps with more space to practice their communication skills and explain new things in an approachable way.
7. “Yes We Can”
“Yes We Can” game is another tool to train agents to avoid saying “no” to customers.
Group your team in a circle and give them their name tags. Next, ask them to think about three requests they can ask any of their colleagues. Once everyone is ready, ask the first agent to choose another agent to whom they want to voice their request.
The agent who responds to a request should decline without saying “no”. After they provide a response, let the next pair of agents repeat the sequence.
Meditation is a tried-and-tested way to relieve stress and relax — meditation helps improve anxiety 60% of the time.
That’s why you have to encourage your agents to set their work aside when they need to bounce back from a difficult conversation with a customer and meditate. You can also think of dedicating a separate room for those who want to meditate in silence.
9. Personality Tests
Personality tests are a great way for agents to learn what they are best at, their weaknesses, and personality differences. Here are some personality tests that you can ask agents to take up:
10. Call Your Competitor
Competitor analysis is one of the tasks every agent should complete during the onboarding process. Analyzing your competitors from a customer service perspective helps you learn how your competitor’s agents deal with issues. It also helps reflect on offering better customer service to your team.
To help your agents find out about the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, buy some competitive service, let them test it, and call their customer service team.
Your agents must come up with questions to ask and pay attention to how their support department provides answers — how they handle a request, follow up, and upsell products.
11. Attitude Anchors
Attitude anchors are an exercise your agents can use every day. In fact, it can become their lifesaver in stressful conversations with customers. The exercise involves working on two types of anchors — maintenance and repair.
Maintenance anchors help raise spirits during calls. Here are some examples:
- jogging every morning for 20 minutes
- listening to cheerful music
- eating out with friends at least once per week
Repair anchors are of help when an agent has had a bad call and needs to reset before taking up the next one. Examples of repair anchors include:
- having a cup of coffee
- talking to a colleague
- playing a round of table tennis
12. Customer Letters
The exercise of writing customer letters helps agents feel valued and boost their spirit. To do this exercise, get your support agents to write a letter from a customer’s perspective and list all positive things that have come out from the interaction with a customer support department. Doing this exercise gets agents to think about positive things about their work and feel the importance of their work.
13. Joke Complains
The exercise of joke complaints is based on listing the ridiculous customer questions or requests and rating them. The requests shouldn’t happen in your organization — just let your agents imagine possible situations.
Use the list as a ground for role-playing — those situations can help you learn how to adapt and become more resilient to worst-case scenarios.
14. Cross-Team Collaboration
Cross-team collaboration sessions help your team better learn the perspectives of people from other departments. This activity involves spending one day in a different department to learn about the challenges and issues of other teams. Cross-team collaboration helps eliminate organizational silos and work as one organism.
Customer Service Training: Resources
As you run quizzes and games with your team to upskill them, you can also encourage them to read more resources on customer service. This way, they can continue their learning process. Here are some recommended resources for exploring with your team:
- Social Media Customer Service: The Complete Guide
- Lessons From the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life
- Dale Carnegie Quick Tips for Outstanding Customer Service
- Customer Service Training Manual Template from HubSpot
- Free Customer Service Training Manual from Lessonly
Providing great customer service training is one of the key roles of a customer service leader. The process of organizing one can be engaging and fun for both — your team and yourself. Hopefully, by introducing our shared ideas, you will upskill your team and set them up for success in their role.
What’s next? To support your team, even more, search for the tools that can make them more productive. For example, you can get them to use customer service collaboration tools such as Juphy so they can manage customer requests on various platforms all from one place. Book a demo — we will show you around. Or you can go ahead and start your 7-day free trial now!
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