Customer Service Training: Tips and Best Practices

Empower your team to deliver exceptional customer experience.

Customer service

Happy customers are your company's best advocates – even better than your most talented marketers. One of the best ways to make your customers happy – aside from offering a great product – is to provide exceptional customer service.

So why do many companies treat customer service training as an afterthought? Most seem to think they are already pretty great at serving their clients. According to a survey conducted by Bain & Company, 80% of companies believe they provide superior customer experience. Curiously, only 8% of their customers agree with that assessment.

Let's dive deeper into why this gap exists and how it can be closed with the aid of customer service training.

What is customer service training?

Customer service training is the coaching that employees receive to improve their customer service skills and performance, as well as to increase customer satisfaction.

Such training typically covers the following areas:

Why is customer service training important?

There is no shortage of studies and surveys that show the importance of excellent customer service:

David Clarke, global CXO and experience consulting leader at PwC, explains:

"Great companies are no longer just product or service companies; they're great experience companies, and the companies that are moving their investments from traditional ways of marketing and advertising into experience-led services and products are the ones that are actually doing better."

But outstanding customer service skills don't come naturally to anyone. You should certainly aim to hire people with great communication skills and suitable personality traits. But that's only the first step. No matter how talented or experienced the individual is, there will always be more to learn.

That's where customer service training comes in. It begins with the new employee onboarding process and continues throughout the employee's time at the company. This effort pays off in various ways:

Customer service training tips

A customer service training program can take many forms – in-person classes, video tutorials, role-playing exercises, online courses, and so on. Regardless of the format you choose, there are several best practices that can help the process.

Maintain an internal knowledge base

Your support team agents must have full knowledge of your products and services – but asking them to remember everything on the spot is bound to lead to mistakes. Empower your support representatives to find the answers they need by organizing all your customer service training materials and product information in a single knowledge base.

Here's an example of such a knowledge base created in Nuclino, a knowledge sharing tool for teams.

Customer service training knowledge base

Orientation checklist to complete before the first day (created in Nuclino)

Having one central knowledge repository will help your existing support agents process customer queries faster and will act as a single source of truth for your new hires. Keep it up-to-date and consider including the following information:

Customer service knowledge base search

Define customer service KPIs

Improving customer service experience is a vague goal. To design a training program, first, it's important to define what the ideal outcome is. Pick several metrics you can use as KPIs for measuring the quality of your customer service and the impact of your training program.

Make sure the KPIs you select follow the SMART criteria. Some commonly used metrics include:

Involve top performers in customer service training

Your best-performing support agents can be better trainers than any external teachers or consultants you can hire. Make sure to involve them in your customer service training program and give your new hires a hands-on learning opportunity. This may take the form of passive observation, knowledge-sharing sessions, shadowing days, and so on.

Create a rewards and recognition system

Acknowledging solid performance and rewarding it can be a great motivator for your team to improve their skills. Make sure your customer service training program includes appropriate incentives and rewards for the team members who hit their KPI targets.

Proactively collect customer and employee feedback

If you are launching a brand new training program, you will likely not get everything right from the very start. Don't stop iterating on it based on the feedback you get from both, the customers and the support agents.

There is not one-size-fits-all format when it comes to customer service training programs – depending on the type of business you are running and the size of your support team you may design yours differently. However you choose to handle the training, don't neglect it. Customers reasonably view it as a test of how much a company truly values them, and with ever-increasing competition, exceptional customer service can be a better competitive advantage than any feature.

Nuclino: Your team's single source of truth

Nuclino

Nuclino is a unified workspace that helps you organize all of your team's work in one place. Instead of digging through the chaos of files and folders and drowning in endless meetings and notifications, Nuclino allows your team to break out of silos and collaborate more thoughtfully.

Try it for free

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