MAR 10, 2016 12:23 PM
5 Ways to Make Your Customer Service Reps Sound More Informed
by Drew Hendricks
In an era where customers can research anything online, the customer service experience has evolved. Instead of merely directing customers to products in stores and asking general questions, employees now serve as subject matter experts. When a customer enters a brick-and-mortar store, that customer is more likely to have questions about a product that only an expert on that product would know.
Whether your representatives interact with customers by phone, email, social media, or in person, it’s more important than ever that they be able to answer even the most complicated questions with ease. If your customers feel that they can get better service from a competitor, they’re likely to go directly to that business and make a purchase during the process. Here are a few ways you can help your representatives gain the expertise they need to help your customers.
Hire the Right People
Many businesses think they can hire someone with a foundational knowledge of what it does and get a head start. This means narrowing candidates down to only those who have specifically worked with the same products or services they sell. An electronics retailer, for instance, may specify that a certain type of electronics experience is necessary to be considered for the job. Instead consider a candidate’s learning aptitude and past experience with getting up to speed on new products quickly. By widening your pool of candidates, you’ll be able to better find reliable employees with great customer service skills.
Invest in Training
Once you have a great team on your side, you’ll need to make sure they have the training they need to succeed. Before letting your service representatives speak to their first customer, offer an intensive period of training where they learn as much as possible about the products or services they’ll be discussing with customers. This is in addition to any customer service training you provide. To save money, consider bringing in a professional trainer and recording a training session that you can then show to any new employees. You can even require employees to take a test before removing them from trainee status.
Many businesses have new employees shadow more experienced workers for a period of time before they start working independently. By asking your employees to spend time learning from a subject matter expert you already have on staff, you’ll be preparing them to confidently answer customer questions once they’re regularly interacting with customers. They’ll also have someone they can contact if they ever have questions.
Provide Research Tools
Customer support representatives can benefit from research tools, whether they’re equipped with tablets on the sales floor or pulling information from a database while on the phone with a customer. With the right help desk tools, your customer service representatives can quickly access information about a customer from the ticket they’ve placed, finding a resolution to the problem so that they’ll sound knowledgeable when they call the customer back.
Keep Reps in the Loop
Training doesn’t end when a new employee reaches the end of the onboarding process. As changes are made and product issues are addressed, it can be easy for customer service representatives to be left out of the update process. Instead of simply sharing this with sales teams and upper management, make sure customer service representatives are notified when these changes happen. Once a year, schedule a training session to refresh workers’ knowledge and update everyone on any changes.
When your customer service representatives can answer questions at an expert level, they’re more likely to impress shoppers and increase brand loyalty. By investing in training and keeping employees informed, businesses can boost their responsiveness and win customers away from competitors.