Today’s consumers are no longer satisfied with just good products at competitive prices — they want a positive customer experience that transforms them into life-long members.
This is where customer service comes in. When competing businesses stock the same items at identical prices, excellent customer service is what separates them from the pack. Today’s customer service industry is worth a staggering $11.34 billion, reflecting an understanding across industries of the importance of good customer service.
But today’s customer service extends beyond a friendly smile. It requires a deep understanding of products and services, flexible communication across all channels, and the ability to establish your brand’s values to your customers.
While that may seem like a lot, it’s achievable through effective training. And companies that utilize detailed training programs are reaping the benefits.
Still unsure about customer service? Keep reading to find out why it’s important, the benefits of customer service training, and the types of training your business should be practicing.
Why is customer service so important?
Customer service is important because, for many industries, the customers are your business. Without them, your products, prices, and workforce are obsolete. This is why enhancing your customer experience is vital to your business's success.
Good customer service drives sales, retains customers, improves employee morale, strengthens your brand's image, and more. Poor customer service has the opposite effect.
There are endless statistics that justify the importance of customer service. Here are just a few of the more eye-catching ones:
90% of Americans use customer service as a factor when deciding whether or not to engage with a business.
61% of customers said they would switch brands after a single bad experience.
64% of business leaders say customer service positively impacts their business's growth.
As you can see, your relationship with your customers has an immeasurable impact on every facet of your business.
The state of frontline training
Frontline workers pose several training challenges as they’re often on their feet, working long and unpredictable hours. They don’t work in training-friendly environments despite the essential nature of the work they do.
As a result, many frontline workers fail to receive the necessary training, with 40% receiving training just once a year or less.
But in addition to issues with quantity, the quality of the training they receive also fails to meet the required standards. Many businesses still employ long-form classroom training that’s not only difficult to organize but also detrimental to performance-related metrics such as knowledge retention.
Even those who utilize the slightly more progressive LMS are hindered by the software’s inability to track meaningful metrics that help evaluate the effectiveness of training and its business impact.
Businesses must find a way to adapt their training and provide frontline workers with the skills needed to thrive.
The benefits of customer service training
You probably understand that good customer service has the means to increase profits. However, the benefits are all-encompassing. Not only will the service you provide help the business, but also the customer and your employees. Let's break it down:
Improves customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention
When your employees are trained to communicate effectively, solve problems, and deal with stressful situations, the customer experience changes drastically. The quality of service provided means greater customer satisfaction.
As customer satisfaction increases, so does customer retention. 3 out of 5 consumers say that customer service influences their shopping habits, i.e., whether they’ll return or move on to your competitor.
And because existing customers spend more than new ones, retaining them will increase profits. Factor in that recruiting new consumers costs 5x more than holding onto existing ones, and improving customer retention is a no-brainer for all businesses.
Increases employee motivation
When you invest in customer service training, you’re investing in your employees and highlighting their importance to the organization. Recognizing your employees as vital to your company’s success, and supporting them to succeed, motivates them to work harder.
93% of employees who report feeling valued say they are motivated to do their best at work.
Increased revenue is simply the natural outcome of all of the above. Motivated employees work harder and better, resulting in more satisfied customers. When customers are happier, they come back and purchase more.
Additionally, satisfied customers are 94% more likely to recommend your business to someone else, creating new customers and further profit.
Examples of customer service training
There are numerous examples of customer service training that are of value to your company. Below are just some of the more important ones:
Brand awareness refers to how familiar consumers are with your brand and your products and services. People will naturally do business with you when your brand is associated with quality, trust, and reliability.
Think of McDonald’s. When you hear the name or see the Golden Arches, you know you’re getting good food, reliable customer service, and affordable prices. That’s brand awareness.
Your customer service team deals directly with your customers and is best placed to communicate your brand values. This should be incorporated into customer service training, where employees are taught the values and how best to communicate them.
No matter how great your business is, angry or upset customers are inevitable. They could be angry at the product quality, the service they received, or something completely unrelated, and you’re just their opportunity to vent.
This is where de-escalation training helps. Defined as a way to teach individuals how to tackle stressful situations, de-escalation training is a must for any workforce that interacts with other people.
Common techniques include showing empathy, respecting personal space, and using non-threatening nonverbals.
Teaching your staff how to handle any emotional interaction will not only improve the customer's experience and brand reputation but also provide your team with the tools to look after their own mental well-being.
Role-specific training is a training plan tailored toward providing an employee with the resources and skills needed for a specific role.
While general training certainly plays a part in any training program, customer service must extend beyond simply teaching employees how to talk to customers and work the cash register.
Certain employees will need to know how to process returns, apply discounts, and correctly handle any situation that isn’t covered in basic training.
You might be surprised to find upselling listed here. After all, isn’t sales serving the business rather than the customer?
The truth is that upselling is a mutually beneficial process. Your employees use their detailed knowledge of the products to ensure the customer makes an informed decision when purchasing. Sure, you’ve directed them to a more expensive product, but it’s also of superior quality and longer lasting.
When integrating upselling into your customer service training, it’s important to stress this fact. Serve the customer by using your expertise to guide their purchasing, rather than forcing a product into their hands that aren’t suited to their needs.
Customer service training must account for the widespread adoption of the omnichannel approach. Consumers expect a consistent experience across all channels, and employees must be customer-centric swiss army knives, effortlessly solving problems at every touch point.
What does this look like? Well, a customer might enquire via email about returning a product bought online, and is informed by the agent to return the product in-store. When the customer gets to the store, the return is processed seamlessly, and the customer leaves satisfied with both the online and in-store service.
Omnichannel customer service is all about consistency. Regardless of their operating platform, all employees should be equipped with the same skills and knowledge to ensure the quality of service is always the same.
Great training for your workforce
When drawing up a customer service training program, there's a lot to think about. However, it is possible to simplify the process and provide great training to your workforce.
eduMe is a mobile-training platform that’s tailored towards frontline workers. By seamlessly integrating into existing technology, your workforce can easily access relevant information when they need it most. We’ve already partnered with a number of companies who are reaping the benefits of revolutionsing their training approach.