Making Customer Service Training Stick

With customers becoming more knowledgeable and companies fighting to retain and grow market share it is no wonder that providing customer service skills training to all employees is top of the list for many training departments. Much effort goes in to arranging a series of customer skills workshops, yet all too often these do not result in the changes in attitude and behaviour the senior management team want to see.

How can training departments make sure the training is truly effective and supports the formation of good customer service habits?

If you genuinely want to change the way that your employees behave towards your customers it is worth bearing in mind the following five points:

1. Well trained people cannot overcome poorly designed processes. Critical to creating a truly customer-focused workforce is ensuring that the systems and processes they use are designed to allow them to put the customer first. Before any training intervention is made, review the processes and change these to support a customer first approach.

2. People need to be clear on what is expected. A powerpoint presentation, where you talk about how you want your customers to feel when they interact with your company, will not be very effective in changing the behaviour of your employees. You need to provide clear guidance on what is expected, so people understand the behaviours they should be using with your real live customers.

3. Practice makes perfect. People need to practice the behaviours they need to adopt when dealing with customers if they are to change their old habits and become skilled in dealing with customers the way you want them to. Use scenarios based on real-life case studies, maybe using members of the management team to play the role of your customers. This can be a powerful way for your employees to practice the skills and change their behaviours.

4. People learn better when they are having fun. Injecting humour into your training, making the training you do both memorable and enjoyable helps people relax, take on more information and want to change.

5. Line Manager involvement is a must. If your line managers are not skilled in giving feedback and coaching, then any improvement you get from the customer service skills training you deliver will be short lived. Working with a specialist training company, such as Spearhead Training, to develop your managers’ skills so that they can actively support your internal training efforts is not a luxury but an essential component of ensuring your customer service skills training is effective.