Should 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.

In the Software business at IBM, some customers would expect Support to handle every issue they had, especially when they were paying for a support contract. Sometimes, the customer’s support request went beyond normal ‘Defect’ or ‘How To’ support. Customers wanted the product to have features that were not available in the product or needed training to use the product effectively.

When I first started out in Quality and Customer Satisfaction many years ago, I went to a course run by the Achieve Group. At that time, I was introduced to the ideas in a book called Firing on All Cylinders by Jim Clemmer. The book itself sold over 100,000 copies. It was my first formal grounding in customer satisfaction training. The author, Jim Clemmer, has recorded excerpts from the book and they are now available, free, in a monthly podcast. Check out the topics and link to the training.

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