Back to Basics on Customer Service Training Ideas

Customer service training ideas seem to not have changed much in the past thirty or so years, and this is actually rather distressing when you really think about it. In thirty years, technology has changed drastically, and partly as a result, so has the outlook of the public in general. Patience is no longer considered a virtue by most, and judgmental conclusions about any given topic are jumped to much more quickly, as a result of the quick flow of information upon which to form these opinions (though the opinions aren’t always informed!)

But, the customer service training ideas that’re primarily in place are a combination of overly-complicated and at the same time outmoded, causing for all manner of problems in CRM and CS that is passed on to the customer. This is calamitous, because as a company, your customer service and CRM are what you will be judged for above all else, when it all boils down. So, customer service isn’t something to be trifled with.

This in mind, we’d like to make a case for going back to basics on customer service training, and as a result, back to basics on how to handle customer service itself. This does not mean we’re proponents of luddite mentalities of evading technologies. On the contrary, by going back to basics, this will also allow the adoption of new technologies once the layers of obfuscation in current philosophies are mercifully stripped away!

The biggest problem, truth be told, is a lack of foresight in training. This lack of foresight can be tracked all the way back to the defining of a service or product, during testing as well. During this testing, a lot of contingencies are overlooked that could easily be implemented as training elements for customer service. These contingencies could have ready-made resolutions which could be offered to customers quickly, resulting in fast, first call resolution – something lacking today.

Well, it’s too late for research and development for the product or service, but there’s a backlog of existing issues customers may have. Take a logistics team and spot the patterns. Figure out some things that’ve gone wrong that maybe aren’t on the list of contingencies, but have a common resolution that seems to have been applied in most cases. Implement these as contingencies in future training.

Another issue is that training in customer service seems to be a finite process. Once the initial training is completed with an employee, it stops right there and they are left to learn more on their own, or work within a limiting system the finite training has built for them. There’s something to be said for constant learning, so training in customer service really ought to be a perpetual, unending thing. As new contingencies and approaches are discovered or proposed, always be training the team, through organizational learning methods, on these new things.

Now we come to the big problem, and that is that most training, and therefore philosophies, center on increasingly outmoded infrastructures. The old help desks and telephone systems just don’t pack the punch they once did, and yet, the meat of customer service training focuses on these constructs almost entirely.

It’s time to peel away the layers of nonsense that modern telephone customer service has wrought, and look at the science of customer service as a core, pure idea. When we do this, and see that it is the channel of customers contacting your company to pursue information, resolutions with billing, and to report problems and/or request resolution thereof … we can see other opportunities to train our customer service people for other channels.

Social networks are the biggest candidate for this, and in going back to basics, we see that this novel yet basic technology is a great place to start in rethinking customer service and training. To train for the proper implementation of these isn’t complicated, as any employee who frequently uses Facebook or Twitter will already be learned in the medium! They need only to learn the protocols for the company that wrap around these customer service channels in the scenario.

So, when looking to go back to basics in customer service training ideas, really, it’s all about looking at what’s new and what’s old and broken, and also learning to plan ahead.

mm