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How to develop a customer service program + template

Creating a formal customer service program begins with identifying your customer's needs and your company's weaknesses. It then allows you to plan a

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Creating a formal customer service program begins with identifying your customer’s needs and your company’s weaknesses. It then allows you to plan a strategy to address both while designing a results evaluation system. In this article, we discuss customer service program benefits and the steps to develop one that is more in depth. In addition, we’ve created a free template for you to use as a guide for setting up a custom training program for your support team.

Show how to develop a customer service training program.

Free Customer Service Training Program Template

A comprehensive customer service training program usually includes activities or exercises designed to hone an agent’s product or company knowledge, as well as their skills in interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, and crisis management. There are a number of topics that can be covered, which is why we’ve created a free template for you to use as a guide for developing a custom training program for your support team.

Download this Customer Service Template for free

This template, combined with the steps outlined below, is designed to help small teams get new employees trained as quickly as possible. However, it is noteworthy that existing employees also need ongoing training on best customer service practices and how to use the best software tools of your business.

If you do not already have software to manage service requests, we recommend Freshdesk as it includes tools to help agents address customer chat and email concerns, and includes ticketing tools. You can also check out our guide on the best customer service software for more options.

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1. List your customers’ top needs

The first thing you need to do to create a customer service program is to think about what your customers need. Using customer service analytics, you can discover key details and top customer needs, such as the kind of experience they expect from your brand, their preferred communication channels, and their perception of your company.

This data will help you in later steps as you identify the type of training courses that you will need to include as part of your training program. It will also help you devise later role-playing exercises to help train your service team on how to engage more effectively with your customers in those channels.

2. Evaluate your company’s weaknesses

Once you have a list of your customers’ needs, find out where your company is short of supply. An analysis of training needs helps you identify your current weaknesses, such as the skills or knowledge your team lacks and what motivates your agents to learn. This list of weaknesses will be transferred to goals that you will aim to achieve with the help of your customer service program.

For example, assume your company has a small support team and the agents have a shallow skill base in dealing with angry customers. To address these weaknesses, invest in additional training to help them improve their skills base. Apart from that, you can set up a rewards or recognition program for top performers so that you can improve staff retention and avoid losing key team members.

3. Plan how you will meet your customers’ needs

The third thing you need to plan for is your strategy to meet your customers’ needs. Use our downloadable template as a guide to write down what your training program aims to achieve and how it will be implemented. Carefully consider the best balance of learning methods for your agents, the company culture you want your employees to adopt, and the platforms to use for the training.

For example, your customer data indicates that your customers are not satisfied with your customer service channel options. As part of your strategy to meet this need, start training your agents on how to use new channels, such as social media, to respond to customer queries.

4. Implement your customer service training program

Now is the time to train your staff and ensure that all your team members learn how to use your customer service software and communication channels. It is an excellent idea to balance experiential, social and formal (manual) training to ensure they have the best learning experience. Training must not only be memorized from the module, but must also include simulations.

In a simulation, you allow your employees to engage in a dialogue that mimics an actual conversation between a support agent and a client. The situations may differ and may include questions that check an employee’s product knowledge or test their patience in dealing with a dissatisfied customer. They can choose what to say and receive feedback from the facilitator based on how they handle the given situation.

5. Review and revise your program as needed

The development of a customer service training course does not end when you have finished planning and implementing it. Training is an ongoing process, and you should regularly measure the effectiveness of your program to determine employee engagement, pain points, and how students feel about the experience. Give your employees constructive feedback and give practical advice on how to improve performance.

Furthermore, evaluate how the training program has affected your core customer service statistics. This includes the time it takes to resolve or respond to issues, call abandonment rates, customer feedback and average incoming calls or calls from each team. These evaluations help you calculate the return on investment (ROI) of your training program and determine how much it benefits your business on a daily basis compared to the costs it takes to develop and implement it.

When you regularly evaluate your training program, you will begin to see specific areas for improvement. Do not be afraid to review the program based on changing trends, customer needs and employee performance. In this way, you ensure that your company can provide excellent customer service to your customers at all times.

Things to consider when building a customer service program

There are several factors to consider when designing your own customer service program. These include the type of learning methods you implement, the training platform used to deliver the training, and the soft skills you want your employees to develop.

Shows important elements of a customer service program.

Learning methods

When designing your customer service training program, include a healthy balance of different learning methods. The 70:20:10 framework is a great model to follow to ensure optimal learning for your employees. It consists of 70% experiential learning, 20% social learning and 10% formal training.

  • Experiential learning: Use different customer service training activities to make it easier for the student to retain and apply the information they have learned. These activities include real-life scenarios and conversation simulations.
  • Social learning: Includes group simulations and peer learning sessions where employees learn from each other.
  • Formal training: A combination of instructor-led training through webinars, mobile learning, interactive videos, worksheets and mini-quizzes.

Training platform

Consider the right platform from which you will deliver the compelling content of your program. Choose a platform or learning management system (LMS) that allows you to create and integrate diverse training content with teleconferencing tools such as Zoom to facilitate the learning process. A system like 360Learning is a centralized hub for scheduling classes, distributing training content, and tracking employee progress.

Soft skills

Soft skills are character traits that relate to a person’s relationships with other people. These skills complement hard skills (knowledge and professional skills). Succeeding at your customer service training program helps your employees develop these important soft skills:

  • Active listening: To be involved in conversations, ask the right questions and summarize the information back to the client.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand a client’s frustrations and make them feel valued by responding in a compassionate way.
  • Crisis management: The ability to resolve complex and high-stress situations with patience and confidence.
  • Emotional intelligence: Be able to evaluate and manage emotions to make the client feel heard and manage stressful encounters.
  • Passion: The aptitude to enjoy work and find ways to make customers happy.

Importance of a customer service program

Customer service training teaches your team how to make the most of an opportunity to connect with your customers. It also helps your agents clearly show that they care about customers’ needs by providing them with answers or solving their problems with your products or services.

When your team undergoes customer service training, they learn how to deliver top service. It helps them facilitate interactions that stay in customers’ minds for a long time. Such encounters can affect the reviews, customer referrals, and word-of-mouth ads your customers create.

Displays a graph of key customer service statistics.

Here are some of the key reasons why you should invest in and implement a high-quality customer service training program:

1. Quality of customer service influences purchasing decisions

Based on a recent report by Zendesk (CX Trends 2022), the majority (70%) of customers make purchasing decisions based on the quality of a company’s customer service. Based on this information, when your support agents undergo training that helps them deliver top service, your business is more likely to make more sales.

2. Positive customer experiences improve your competitive edge

Excellent customer service helps your business stand out among your competitors because it makes it easier for your customers to choose you over other brands. Similarly, poor customer service is a major factor that causes businesses to lose customers. Keep in mind that 61% of customers say they will switch to a company’s competitor after a single negative customer service experience.

Customer service training programs usually include simulations of actual conversations with customers. This is one of the best ways to equip your employees with skills in dealing with various customer issues. Once your customer realizes that your company’s staff is capable of dealing with difficult or complicated questions, it becomes easier for them to choose your brand over your competitors.

3. Happy customers make repeated purchases

Customer service is a key factor in increasing customer retention. Satisfied customers are willing to keep up when you give them quick, helpful answers to their questions and when they feel you are committed to their success. In fact, 81% of customers are affected to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience.

Excellent customer service can only come from employees who are equipped with the right skills and knowledge. With the help of a robust training program, your team can provide clients with what they need. It contributes to their overall satisfaction and happiness with the quality of your service.

Bottom Line

It requires careful planning, implementation and evaluation to develop a successful customer service training program. You should also consider the most effective learning methods, use a robust training platform and help your team develop crucial soft skills that enable your employees to provide optimal customer service. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to customer service training, and each program must be tailored to suit your specific business needs.

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