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Customer Service Online Training: What Work-Life Skills You Should Cover
If it was your job to smile all day while being yelled at, what kind of help would you want? And it’s not the kind of job where you can ignore your “hecklers”. You need to listen to them, find out why they are angry, and fix the problem. This is the job description for any account manager. In many places it is mistaken for an entry-level job that requires minimal experience. But it can literally make or destroy your brand. Your customer service reps are your brand’s infantry, so you want them to be calm, effective, fulfilling and avoid getting into the line of fire. Here are 5 professional life skills to develop in your online customer service training course.
5 skills to cultivate on your customer service team
1. Patience and perseverance
Your customer service agents need to be calm about complaints. They need empathy so that they can see things from the customer’s perspective. You also need a practiced distance so as not to take these endless verbal attacks to heart. Often times, customer service reps can’t really solve the problem, but they need to absorb the customer’s anger and take the blame. Arm them to do this by teaching them to speak positively and make connections.
Go beyond stereotypes like “We’re sorry for the inconvenience” or “We escalated matters”. Scripts and templates are helpful, but teach you how to embellish and use human language. Show them how they can bring some of their personality to their customer exchanges. Experience shows that people just want to be heard and feel valued. A friendly, polite customer service representative gets a more positive rating than a harsh one who actually solves the problem. Simulated calls can help your corporate learners expand on their scripted language.
Customer care is a mixture of marketing and hostage negotiations. You need to talk them down and convince them that your brand is still worth its time. And you have to do it because you know that you probably have no real power to solve their problem. They are aware that they may ask about your manager, which is bad for you. This is where your persuasiveness comes in. You need to communicate clearly, warmly, openly, and honestly. This can be tricky if you have been offended by other customers all day. Train your customer care team in the word frame. You should take responsibility for the problem without offering any fault.
This is very important as fault could create a basis for legal action. Teach them intelligent language. “That’s the very specific way we screwed it up, and that’s what we’re doing to fix it.” That puts the burden on a particular tool, service, or feature rather than the brand. It calms the customer down while at the same time limiting liability. Similarly, “I’m sorry” says “It’s my fault” but “I apologize” says “This is bad, let me fix it”. Never shift the blame onto other brands or make the customer feel like it’s somehow their fault. Develop these skills through quick branching scenarios in your customer service online training course. Employees learn to perform under fire and see all the ways in which a situation can escalate.
3. Curiosity and the constant pursuit of knowledge
There’s a popular mug that says “Don’t confuse your Google searches with my medical degree”. This is not a feeling you would expect from tour account managers. Today’s customer does not reflexively rush to technical support. This is generally the last resort after doing your own troubleshooting doesn’t fix the problem. So when your employees realize that the customer knows more than they do, they need to treat it gracefully and gently. Instead of being snappy or pretending they know what they don’t know, let curiosity run wild. Give your sales reps plenty of online simulations to show them how to interact with the “expert customer,” which also highlights topics they may need to investigate further. In this way they arouse their thirst for knowledge and reveal personal knowledge and performance gaps.
4. Time management
Your customer service reps need the patience to provide better service, but this rule doesn’t apply to your customers. In fact, they usually want to get on and off and spend their day. But they also want a great experience while interacting with your brand. Therefore, your employees need good time management in order to master challenges quickly and make the most of their working day. This ability also helps them in their personal lives as it makes them more productive and organized. Which also reduces stress.
5. Active listening
The hallmark of an effective communicator is the ability to both listen and articulate your own ideas. Therefore, your customer service reps should be seasoned active listeners who understand customers’ needs and read subtle pointers. For example, they should be able to go beyond what the client is saying by reading their body language and expression. One of the best ways to teach this skill is through group collaboration projects and person-based simulations. Employees need to be able to assess the situation through active listening and then figure out how to appease the customer. In group collaboration projects, working with people of the same age naturally helps to develop social and communication skills.
Customer care is one of the toughest and most ungrateful jobs of all. Develop effective online customer service training for your benefit and your customers too. Create online training simulations that develop your patience and empathy while warding you off against scolding customers. Give them plenty of practice in positive spinning without sounding trite or greasy. Equip them to think on their feet and not get nervous when they don’t have all the answers. Above all, offer them a strong ability to listen carefully and to solve problems creatively. Slide in “Here’s your reference number …” so they can have a real impact on their careers and your customers.
How do you achieve quick results and bring your new hires in customer service up to date? Download our e-book Racing The Customer Service Clock for more information on developing soft skills and tips on choosing the best outsourcing partner.
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