This article is here to offer some help with the most important professional skill in customer service: empathic communication.
More and more companies follow this great principle.
But if customer service advisors’ ability to communicate is misunderstood as a talent, a personality trait or an attitude, teams are only going to grow their frustration instead of these essential professional skills.
Fortunately, being a great communicator is a skill that can be learned:
In order to plan a successful training programme for your team, you’ll want to define the hard skills and knowledge they need.
Then, you can use cooperative learning techniques, lovingly designed materials and copious amounts of food and drink to create an environment in which the right attitude will thrive.
Describe the support you want your customers to experience in one sentence.
For example, Our customers feel scooped up and carried through any difficulties they’ve run into.
Or, The team help our customers to help themselves, while displaying intercultural sensitivity.
Your strategic goal should be relatively vague and high level.
Some companies have a mission statement that includes customer care strategy — that’s the ideal place to start from.
If your company doesn’t already have this, engage with others in the company to define your customer service strategy.
If your strategy were to help customers to help themselves, while displaying intercultural sensitivity, your list might look like this:
These points allow less interpretation, and you can centre your activities around them.
If you get stuck while making such a list, check some customer care emails or chat messages you’ve received yourself.
Finally, crunch time!
Turn the skills and knowledge you’ve defined into very precise actions that you can observe and assess.
This will give you specific modules and activities for your training.
You’ll be able to combine those into a running order for one or more sessions and assess the team’s results elegantly as you go along.
Most soft skills training programmes stop at step 2, which is why they often don’t give the desired results.
People change when they learn something — but that change is usually invisible.
Therefore, answering the following question is the key to your training’s success:
What behaviour would prove that this person has learned the desired skill or information?
Usually, you’ll find that each item from step 2 will comprise several distinct actions you want to teach and assess.
To give you an example: close reading of customer emails is a skill you can’t observe directly.
You can check someone’s grasp of the finer details in a variety of ways though:
How many items must be solved correctly so you can be sure you’ve achieved your training goals?
Make sure to write down all the factors that come into play for these activities too — such as available time, tools (such as computers vs pen and paper), and whether they’ll work alone, pair up or form a group.
Together, we’ve got decades of experience developing training and teaching workshops that move the needle. You can find out more about our approach to customer care training here.
Or get in touch for a chat and find out if we’re the right fit for your goals.