One of the best ways to ensure that your customer experience continues to be awesome is by introducing in-depth customer service training ideas for your team. According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. Woah! Not only are you boosting customer loyalty with customer service training, but you’re also generating more revenue—it has a company-wide impact!
Training for customer service, much like training for any role, starts at the very beginning. However, there are a number of steps along the way to ensure that all of your team members continue to level up during their career with your company. Here are four customer service training ideas that we’ve found super helpful. Be sure to check out our resources at the end for even more ideas for ways to level up your team.
It’s important that some of these training ideas be for just the customer-facing teams—and this one’s even a little fun. Ticket Roulette allows customer service team members to see how other representatives would have responded to tough or tricky tickets that they’ve answered in the past.
At a cadence that makes sense for your team (maybe monthly or bi-weekly), have a team member select a ticket that was tricky or more complex. Then have them copy and paste the customer’s inquiry into a Google Doc or Trello board where everyone on your team can access it. Remove all personal customer information from the ticket so that no one can be sneaky and look up the ticket in your help desk.
Then prompt each team member to respond to the customer’s inquiry as they would normally. When each person has typed out their response, go one-by-one and read them. The person who submitted the Ticket Roulette should go last.
In a cognitive intelligence study done by MIT engineers, researchers observed that successful teams had three things in common:
- They gave one another roughly equal time to talk
- They were sensitive towards each other (even in awkward situations)
- They included diverse perspectives
Ticket Roulette helps to accomplish all of these things, plus the added benefit of being an excellent customer service training idea. Your team hears each other’s perspectives, allows everyone to be vulnerable and honest about what they might not know, and lets everyone gain insight into diverse ways to answer questions.
Peer & Manager Review
Did you know that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better service, and 67% of customers cite poor service as a reason for leaving a company? But that means every agent needs to know what a good response actually is. As a manager, it’s also good to know how your customers are being treated. Ongoing peer and manager reviews are one of the best customer service training ideas to fulfill those needs.
While reviews can be done manually, there are a number of excellent tools like MaestroQA and Klaus that prompt automated reviews each week. Managers and team members alike should have a quota of how many tickets they need to review. Try to make sure that each team member receives an equal number of reviews, too.
Designate a few key things to grade responses on. Those could be things like tone and style, whether the team member offered an actual solution, and how well they exhibited product knowledge. The criteria will differ depending on the company, but try to keep the options short and sweet—you’ll lose engagement if every review requires filling out 10 different fields.
Peer and manager review gives ongoing training opportunities to all members of the team while ensuring that your customer experience quality stays in tip-top shape.
Company-wide customer service
It makes sense to put customer service through training to provide excellent customer service, but does it make sense to train everyone at the company? Yes! Your customer service teams have the best understanding of what users need and want. In fact, they often provide constructive insights to your product and engineering teams.
Doesn’t it make sense for everyone to have an ingrained sense of that level of customer focus? Some may argue that this takes away from time that employees could be using to learn more important aspects of their job. But without the customer, there would be no jobs for anyone—is there anything more important than that?
Every person in your company should spend at least a week answering inquiries from real customers. This is the best way to learn your product, learn customer empathy, and get a first-hand experience of how customers feel. While it may seem over-the-top for an engineer to spend a week answering tickets when they may never have to again, what better way to see the impact of their regular day-to-day work? Seeing a customer that’s angry because of something you built is a clear way to build empathy.
This is definitely one of the most extreme customer service training ideas, but the companies that have implemented it (like Appcues from the tweet above) find increased empathy and better product knowledge across all teams. Everyone benefits from those.
New Product Training
New product release days are some of the most high-anxiety, nerve-wracking days that businesses can have. The marketing team is nervous about how the product will be received, the engineering team is worried about whether people will find bugs and all customer-facing teams are nervous about knowing the new product well enough to support customers.
New product training helps address all of those fears—at least tangentially. To be done properly, there should be a few rounds of training: one when the idea is first being designed, one when the product is in beta and being used by customers, and one right before the big release day. Throughout all of it, support and customer-facing teams should be involved.
For the training that takes place right before the big launch, there are a few integral things to include:
- What are the key product changes taking place?
- Is all of the documentation written up about this new product and where can it be found?
- What were the main issues that customers had during the beta period, and have they been resolved?
- What is the status of any bugs that were uncovered during the beta but haven’t yet been resolved?
- Are there any saved replies or macros that directly relate to this new product launch?
- How should employees talk about the release on social media?
Train your team members on the new product with answers to all of those questions for your launch will go off without a hitch.
Resources for Customer Service Training
For even more ideas on how to incorporate ongoing education into your customer service strategy, check out these guides below:
Our favorite training idea: “Never say no” brainstorming
Our favorite: Team meditation!
Our favorite: Lunch and Learns
While these customer service training ideas are a great start, there’s a whole world open ahead of you. Take these as a jumping-off point and start to custom-fit them to address the needs of your own company, customer service team and customer base.
Training isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s through tweaking and adjusting well-liked training ideas and strategies that everyone is able to make functionality that serves their team and customers best.
Remember: focus on both immediate and ongoing training. Just because you train someone once doesn’t mean that they’ll always be on the foreground of knowledge. Customer experience is the main differentiator between companies—make sure that yours is always the best.