Customer Service Training

Here’s a little known fact. Most universities, colleges and management programs don’t teach enough about customer service management. Is it any wonder customers are so dissatisfied?

Recommended topics for a course on customer service.

1. What is the mission of customer service?

2. Where should customer service report in an organization (eg marketing, public relations, operations, administration, sales) and the  pros and cons of each organization type.

3. Different models of customer service (entitled with a contract only, or anyone entitled)

4. The role of on line Self Service versus call in for support.

5. The impact of Social Media on customer service and different methods of servicing customers in a mixed mode of call center and social media.

6. Managing the customer service organization:  type of positions,  salary levels, reward, recognition, hiring criteria.

7 Typical measurements in a customer service environment: Number of calls,  call duration times, wait times, abandonment rates. calls per person, how many people do you need.

8. Skills Inventory. How to create and maintain a skills inventory. Who has what skill and at what level. How many of each skill level is needed?

9. Procedures for getting the right skilled person to address the customer’s issue.

10. Procedures and best practices to ensure that the rest of the organization learn about repetitive problems customer service is addressing that could be fixed at the management level. How to create a learning organization to minimize customer dissatisfaction by fixing the source of the problems.

11. Training customer service personnel to support customers.

12. Customer Satisfaction processes. How to set up and run a customer satisfaction survey process. How to listen to social media. Aggregating the data and disseminating it to the rest of the organization.

13. Best practices on handling difficult customers and escalations.

14. Preparing for a crisis.

15. Managing a crisis.

16. Tools needed in a customer service organization such as telephone front ends, switching calls to appropriate call takers, problem management systems to track problems, data bases with known problems and their resolutions.

17. Best practices in encoding problem causes and problem resolutions to help with management reporting.

18. Best practices in Management reporting.

Observations

The orientation of the college course would be ‘management’ oriented rather than call taker oriented. I believe  call taker orientation should be done at the organizational level.

I am sure there are other topics that could be added here to ensure that we train our future managers about customer service. Feel free to comment below.

Our future executives need to understand that the policies they set the executive level, get executed at the customer service level and failure to understand how customers are impacted by executive decisions will increase call volumes and customer dissatisfaction.

It is very sad that there appears to be so few courses available on this important topic. If you know of any, please share in the comments 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.

5 Responses to “The Shocking Truth about Customer Service Management Training”

  1. Barry Clasper Says:

    The cynic in me thinks that one reason there are so few courses is because so few organizations view customer support as important to their business.

    A topic you could add to your excellent list would be How To View Your Customer Support From The Customer’s Perspective. Too often customer support organizations are set up with more consideration given to the organization’s internal procedures and priorities than serving the customer’s needs.

  2. Adele Says:

    Excellent suggestion Barry. That is definitely a topic in itself. I would include in the topic techniques used by organizations to make sure they understand customer perspectives like forming user groups, putting management on the front line, hiring silent shoppers (pretending to be shoppers to see how customers are being treated) and customer councils of all sorts.

    Thanks for the excellent suggestion.

  3. Barry Clasper Says:

    Ellen Rosen has an excellent article in today’s (Saturday) Toronto Star that touches on this. It recounts the troubles customers have in getting their money back from big companies that have made erroneous charges on their credit cards.

  4. Adele Says:

    Ellen Roseman of the Toronto Star provides an excellent service to her readers. She takes forward issues that are blatantly unfair to management of large organizations where the consumer feels helpless. Often she is able to get results unobtainable by individuals. She also warns consumers about issues that she has heard of where they need to take action on their own.

    The ability to provide this kind of service to the community is very welcome by the Toronto Star readership. Not all newspapers provide this service. In some locations, radio stations or TV broadcasts provide a similar service.

    These services come with a cost though. The newspaper, radio station or TV station has to deal with the wrath of large organizations who may refuse to advertise if they are ‘picked on’. We are very lucky in Toronto that the Toronto Star has editors who resist these kinds of pressures for the good of the public.

    Some communities don’t have this service at all. Social Media and complaint sites help out in those cases.

    It takes time but often the big companies, and even governments, who cause consumers dissatisfaction, get the message. Sometimes the organizations take a business hit. Sometimes the government gets voted out of power.

    The only way to rectify these situations, is for organizations to realize they cannot ‘get away’ with errors, omissions and lack of fairness and justice.

  5. Murray Marven Says:

    IMHO I believe you turn the corner on taking Customer Service seriously when the business sees it as a means to generate more revenue, versus how to minimize costs. Happy customers buy more. Of course, believing that academically isn’t enough. It somehow has to be proven through measurement, or it won’t be treated as fact.

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