Training is one of the most essential investments you can make for your contact center. Every dollar you spend on training earns back $30 in productivity. On top of that, companies that invest in training earn 24% higher profit margins.
But if you truly want to get the most bang for your buck, then the priority for your contact center training has to be developing a customer service learning module.
Contact Center Training: The Customer Service Learning Module
Customers are selective. They want to work with companies that put them first. That’s why 47% of customers say they’ll stop buying from a company after a single subpar experience. On top of that, 91% of those customers will leave without complaining, so you’ll never know what adversely affected your brand. In fact, every year in the U.S. alone, $62 billion is lost due to poor customer service.
To continually delight your customers and build loyalty, you have to offer the best customer experience possible. That’s where contact center training comes into play. You must teach your agents how to create and deliver exceptional service—over and over again.
Your agents must learn everything from why your customers contact your call center to how to develop a relationship with new and existing customers. And it’s not just a one-time process. True customer service training is never-ending. It’s constantly updated as trends change, products release, and greater customer understanding is gained.
5 Steps to Develop a Customer Service Training Plan
So, how can your contact center create and deploy a customer service learning module that produces measurable results?
Step 1: Research the Current Customer Experience
Start by conducting real-time research into the current customer experience. You'll want to answer at least a few of the following questions:
- What are your current CSAT and NPS scores?
- Why do your customers contact you; are there any trends?
- How do your customers contact you; what channels do they prefer?
- How do your agents feel about the customer experience?
- How many repeat calls do you receive, and what causes those?
- When and why do customers need to be escalated to management?
- Do your customers end their experience with your contact center emotionally satisfied with the results?
To get all this insight and answer these questions, you’ll need to have some tools in place.
- Text analytics to monitor every customer interaction, look for customer pain points, identify trends, and highlight knowledge gaps that cause repeat calls and escalation.
- QA self-scorecards to collect feedback from your agents on how they think the customer experience is going and what could be done better.
- Call monitoring software to listen for emotional queues and indicate satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
Step 2: Identify Knowledge Gaps
Once you understand your current customer experience, you can start designing a customer service learning module that fits your needs. The key is not to waste time and money developing a module on what you think is important. Instead, it needs to be tailor-made for what’s needed, based on identified knowledge gaps.
To start, explore the root cause of each problem identified in Step 1. For example, if you discovered that your customers regularly call with questions about shipping and those conversations tend to run long, you may implement additional training on shipping. Or if you find out that angry customers tend to hang up angry, maybe emotional intelligence needs to be a central focus of your training.
Step 3: Establish Necessary Agent Skills for Customer Service Success
Call center agents need a mix of hard and soft skills to provide exceptional customer experiences. And they need a certain level of proficiency in each of these skills to get results. Unfortunately, only 38% of managers believe that skill training is done well.
Establish which skills are most important for customer service success at your contact center, then develop your program around those areas. For example, your contact center services learning module should include training on correct processes, compliance, and customer outcomes. It should also cover customer service soft skills, including:
- Emotional intelligence
Step 4: Create a Step-by-Step Training Plan
Once you’ve identified your current customer experience, identified knowledge gaps, and established the necessary skills for success, it’s time to put it all together. A comprehensive customer service training plan should include specialized learning modules for various groups and individual agents based on their unique needs.
This training plan should center around your organization’s goals, contact center objectives, resources, and individual needs. And it should be designed to evolve as needed based on performance reviews, new products, and agent hiring.
Step 5: Promote the Benefits of Learning Customer Service
Finally, if you want your customer service learning module to be effective, you need to explain its value clearly. Promote the benefits of training to your agents, explaining how it can make their frontline interactions with customers easier. Explain how training will give them greater confidence, lead to more promotions, result in increased salaries, and open new work opportunities.
The key is to communicate how necessary training is and to incentivize them to keep going. This is a better option than just mandating training as it delivers mutually beneficial results for you and your call center agents.
3 Best Practices for Creating a Contact Center Services Learning Module
#1 Use a Learning Management System
Customer service training can easily become overwhelming. There’s a lot of information to cover, and agents learn best with one-on-one help and management. That’s where a learning management system (LMS) can help.
An LMS makes it easier to manage, track, and achieve your customer experience—anywhere and at any time. You can use it to:
- Provide individualized learning plans.
- Offer both on-demand and instructor-led courses.
- Run multiple training sessions at once in the style best suited to each agent.
#2 Engage Your Agents
Engaged agents are not only happier and more productive; they achieve better results. Agents that are actively engaged throughout the training process will learn better, put in more training time, and feel more satisfied with the learning process.
To engage your agents:
- Use an LMS with a personal dashboard so agents can track their progress at each step.
- Connect the customer service learning module to real-world scenarios so agents have a chance to practice and see why it’s important.
- Provide positive reinforcement as motivation for continual improvement.
- Ask for feedback about the training and learning process, and allow your agents to have a say in how it takes place.
#3 Schedule Regular One-on-Ones
Treat your agents like individuals, considering their unique professional backgrounds and needs. Regular one-on-one meetings can help them feel appreciated, connected, and cared for. It’s also a way for you to personally check in on each agent and develop more personal, practical, and effective learning modules. And it is critical for fostering better relationships!
Additional Best Practices for Customer Service Training
Here are a few more best practices for customer service training in a rapid-fire format.
- Connect contact center learning to larger business initiatives. Align business goals to customer service goals to help your agents see the bigger picture.
- Keep a schedule with concrete goals. Agents work best with KPI benchmarks that they need to hit and a timeline for achieving each.
- Take advantage of top-performing agents. Bring your best agents into training as mentors, guides, and cheerleaders for new hires and those who are underperforming.
- Roleplay customer service scenarios. Use roleplaying scenarios to help your agents implement what they are learning and gain hands-on experience.
- Provide a call center script as a training supplement. A script can help ensures your agents hit every critical point in each customer interaction.
- Make training fun through gamification. Call center training games can increase an agent's motivation and foster skill retention in a creative setting.
Successful Customer Service Starts with Training
Today’s customers have greater expectations than ever before. They’re also smarter and more skeptical, which means your call center has to offer something exceptional to satisfy them. A contact center services learning module is a great place to start when meeting customer expectations and providing better experiences.
- 3X greater return on stock performance.
- 2X higher year-over-year growth in customer retention, repeat purchase rates, and customer lifetime value.
Call center training is critical to a high-quality customer experience. In fact, it’s among the most valuable strategies you can employ to ensure excellent customer service, gain customer trust, and increase brand loyalty.
Ready to implement a customer service training plan at your call center?
Check out The Ultimate Call Center Training Guide for more strategies and training recommendations.