A customer support agent is one of the most important positions in any small to mid-sized B2B business. Why, you ask? Because they are on the front line of your business! They are often the sole interaction with your company after the sale is made. And they ensure that your organization is appropriately handling its customers’ needs. It therefore stands to reason that training your customer service agents should be a high priority for your company!
So what are the best areas of focus for training your customer support agents? Here are five key areas that should help you to solidify your training plans.
1. Strengthen customer service skills
This one seems like a no-brainer, right? Maybe and maybe not. The world is full of people who do much of their communicating electronically â€“ texting, emailing, etc. A little training on appropriate phone etiquette could go a long way: use â€œpleaseâ€ and â€œthank youâ€; and a simple â€œyou’re welcomeâ€ is much more professional than â€œno problemâ€.
Not to mention that it’s important to teach your agents how to have empathy and patience while dealing with sometimes frustrated customers. Oh, and teaching agents to develop a thick skin might be very handy in some situations.
2. Review and improve customer interactions
In some cases, the customer service agent is not the only customer touchpoint. It is important to identify all the interactions a customer may have with your organization and ensure that they are receiving a consistent message.
And humanizing these interactions will go a long way toward resolving conflicts should they arise. A customer service agent has a great opportunity to connect with a customer and find a common ground.
3. Develop a customer support strategy
Do you have a customer support strategy? If not, you should! And by all means your agents should know what it is. Customer support agents should be educated on your business and they should understand their role in building customer relationships.
And, they should know the desired outcome of any call. Is it to comply with a service level agreement (SLA), resolve a customer’s issue on first contact, or to keep a customer updated on an issue? Whatever the goal, agents should know it and be trained on how to achieve it.
4. Make sure employees are engaged
All the customer support training in the world cannot make up for a lax or careless attitude. Let’s face it: customer support can be a very draining job. Customers don’t often call to say â€œthanksâ€ or â€œyou’re doing a great jobâ€. They call with problems! It is your job to help your agents identify and combat being overwhelmed or just plain â€œchecked outâ€. Maybe it’s as simple as an anonymous employee suggestion box; or perhaps it’s clearly identifying a path for career advancement. Whatever it is, it could make a huge difference in the attitude customers perceive when they talk with your agents.
5. Teach the importance of follow-through
Customer support agents can be engaging, helpful and great listeners/problem-solvers. But, if they don’t follow-through with your customers then what’s the point? First and foremost, teach your agents why following up is so important. Then, teach them appropriate follow-up methods: when a phone call is appropriate, when an email is appropriate, etc. This will gain your customers’ trust. PhaseWare’s Tracker Suite will help your agents to stay engaged and proactive with your valuable customers.
These training areas aren’t complicated. All of them fall squarely into â€œsoft skillsâ€; but these soft skills can make or break your business in the eyes of your customer. Don’t let your business fall short. Invest time and money in training your front line.