Teach Customer ServiceShould you train your customer service representatives or just hire caring, empathetic staff with excellent communication skills? What a question!

My answer is YES.

I agree that it would be preferable to hire people into the customer service organization with empathy, patience and excellent communication skills but that is not enough. You need to train your staff about your company, your policies, your tools and your processes.

10 Training Secrets

1. What are the typical questions customer ask and here are the answers or where to find them in a data base of known problems.

2. What are the company policies? Warranties, refund policies, repair procedures.

3. Here’s how our organization captures problem records. Teach the tools needed to capture the data about the customer, their problem and the actions and resolutions taken.

4. Here’s how we engage with customers at the beginning of a problem.

a. Are customer’s entitled to support or do they have to have a contract
b. Ask for the customer’s name and how to contact them if disconnected
c. Listen to the problem and rephrase the problem to ensure you understand it
d. Ask if there are additional problems.
e. Try to understand how the problem impacts the customer if it is not obvious.
f. Document everything

5. What processes there are within the customer service organization to address problems that are unusual or need extra support. Is there second level support for the call takers to go to (or a supervisor). How to engage.

6. Does this customer service organization provide small amounts of funds to empower the front line person to fix small customer problems quickly or do they need to escalate to another level? How is this done?

7. Does this organization capture and code the nature of the problem and the nature of the resolution for management reporting purposes?

8. Is there a rule about how long to work on a problem before escalating it to someone else?

9. What are customer service reps measured on? You need to explain that to them. Are there customer satisfaction surveys? How do they affect the call taker?

10. Best practices to deal with very dissatisfied customers, how to handle them, how to calm them down, how to work with them to resolve their problem. Possibly teach them negotiation skills, if appropriate.

Do you agree? Share your experiences with training your customer service call takers. Leave comments in the section below.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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