How to Maximize Your Customer Service Training Program

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When you think of customer service, the first thing that probably comes to mind is people. Whether it’s on the phone or in your store, great customer service is about great relationships between your employees and customers. It only makes sense that your customer service training should revolve around people, too.

But even a people-centric training process requires more than just great trainers—you also need great training content and written documentation, too. Think of content as the backbone of your training program: good content supports and strengthens your program, while poorly structured content can waste time or worse, lead to unhappy customers. And, with customers typically in need of twelve positive experiences to make up for one negative experience, you know how important it is to have a strong training backbone.

So, how exactly can compelling content boost your training programs? We’ve put together five examples from our customers to give you some insight into how others are doing it and ideas for your own programs.

1. Build employee engagement

While there might be certain customer responses that you need your employees to memorize, most customer service employees are at their best when they’re genuinely engaging with the customer. With digital content, you’ll build excitement that speaks louder than scripted words. Welcome new employees with a branded introductory video, or show off your latest products with hi-res images and interactive elements. Bright, engaging content will be a breath a fresh air compared to the traditional dusty binders.

For example, one of our customers, a high-end cosmetics company, uses Inkling’s interactive timelines to show gradual progressions, often in the form of step-by-step instructions on their latest eye shadow or eyeliner. As employees swipe back and forth between the beginning and end, they get a true sense of the transformation and discover what they love about each product.

2. Prepare employees for in-person training

To maximize your time spent training, make sure that your employees come prepared. Equip them with content that outlines common procedures and product specifics so that they have a good sense of your business before meeting with training managers. For more effective studying, you might consider integrating digital flashcards, quizzes, and short responses into your digital content, encouraging employees to put their knowledge to the test.

This style of learning, where homework and assessment come before classroom lectures, is called the “flipped classroom” and has become quite popular among corporate learning professionals. The cosmetics company I mentioned, for example, is in the process of revamping its training and onboarding to reflect this model.

3. Personalize training 

To pinpoint which areas your employees have mastered and which need more help, digital content can offer invaluable data. Test scores are a great baseline for understanding your employees’ competency levels, but be sure to read their short essays, too. With digital content that allows for notes written in context, you can assess what your employes find important, what needs further explanation, and where they usually get lost. Aggregate and analyze this data to determine what you should focus on in person, so that you’re spending time on the most important information.

Once you’re ready to update your content (perhaps to deter the amount of future questions), cloud publishing makes the process easy. After making changes in one place, they roll out across all devices and prevent the wrong version from falling in your employees’ hands.

4. Encourage resourcefulness

A hidden benefit of requiring your employees to study independently with digital content is that it encourages resourcefulness, a soft skill that’s hard to teach, but vital for customer service employees. And, with content based in HTML5, your employees can use their mobile devices to learn, reference and repeat throughout the day and during their downtime. By making this kind of performance support content more accessible to employees, you can help to shave time off your managers’ schedules each day, creating a serious business impact in the long run.

For another one of our customers, a large broadcasting and media company, self-paced learning also helps with self-selection. Before incorporating digital content into its programs, the company would often pay for weeks of personalized learning before realizing that a candidate was either not qualified or not dedicated to the task at hand. Now, with the ability to view test scores and pages read, uncommitted employees are apparent, and will often leave the program before wasting valuable personalized training dollars.

5. Accelerate ramp-up time

In-person trainings can be few and far between, and if new employees don’t fit into your cycle just right, they can wait a long time to be trained. For example, one of our customers does in-person trainings every couple of months, while another only does them twice a year. With digital content, managers don’t have to wait until they have a big enough cohort of employees to train. Instead, employees can get started right away and build upon their knowledge each day.

The bottom line:

Training your customer service employees can take up a huge chunk of your budget, but with 55% of consumers willing to pay more for a better customer experience, it is well worth the investment. Get the most out of your investment with digital content–your employees will be more excited about your products and more prepared to sell them with engaging, information-rich content.