No matter what industry your company operates in, customer service is more than a supplementary activity. It is vital to the role your company plays in your customers’ lives.
One bad customer service experience is enough to push a customer away from a product forever. In today’s social media-dominated culture, it can also create ripples that push potential future customers away as well.
On the other hand, great customer service is an asset that produces value far beyond the initial customer encounter. One-third of American consumers express loyalty to their favorite companies by recommending them to family and friends. On average, those customers spend more on the brands they are loyal to.
But most executives already know how important great customer service is. The main question for companies looking to improve the customer experience – and thus boost customer retention and satisfaction – is “how”.
Customer service training is the most valuable asset a company can implement towards improving key performance metrics of the customer experience. A fully trained customer service team is able to meet customer needs faster and more comprehensively than one that relies on ad-hoc decision-making.
How Customer Service Training Improves the Customer Experience
Customer service processes are neither neat nor predictable. Customers don’t know your company culture the way you do, and often have uncommunicated expectations concerning the role you play in their lives.
Good customer service teams know what these expectations are and use adequate resources to meet them. Great customer service teams exceed those expectations consistently.
The Ritz Carlton luxury hotel offers one of the most famous examples. John R. DiJulius describes the hotel’s policy in his book What’s the Secret?: To Providing a World-Class Customer Experience:
DiJulius left his laptop charger in the hotel room in a rush to the airport. He planned to call the next day and have them send it back, but the Ritz Carlton beat him to it – the hotel sent his laptop charger to his office with Next Day Air, and even included a second charger in the box as a gift.
In fact, every single Ritz Carlton employee enjoys independent authorization to spend up to $2000 to improve the customer experience any way they see fit. This applies to loss prevention personnel, reception concierge, and even hotel cleaning staff.
Customer Service Training Improves Customer Service Policy
Not every business can afford to write its employees a blank check for $2000. But that isn’t the most important takeaway of the Ritz Carlton’s story.
The most important element of the luxury hotel chain’s customer service program the fact that it has a comprehensive policy.
This policy covers three main aspects of the customer experience:
- Employees who measure and record the success of their interactions with customers are able to repeat successful interactions with greater frequency and reliability. Customer service representatives who don’t measure qualitative and quantitative feedback have no meaningful way to improve.
- Independent Decision-Making.Instead of having to bombard supervisors and managers with potentially creative ideas for improving the customer experience (something very few employees will actually do), well-trained customer service representatives can take matters into their own hands.
- Dedicated Resources.Instead of simply writing blank checks, give customer service representatives time away from the phone. Dedicate this time to customer research, data analysis, process improvement, and other high-impact, strategic initiatives.
In many cases, simply predicting a customers’ preference is the key to creating an exceptional customer experience. This doesn’t cost $2000 – it only takes time, training, and policy.
Fully Trained Customer Service Teams Produce Long-Lasting Value
You can’t empower customer service agents to make independent decisions that improve the customer experience without training. Without discipline and training, unsupervised decision-making can lead to disastrous results – you can’t count on your employees innately “knowing” what the right thing to do is.
But a well-trained customer service team can generate enormous value through independent decision-making. Equip this team with a customer relationship management (CRM) database that provides useful data on individual customers and the value of each relationship only increases with time.
Successfully managing your company’s relationship with its customers requires the use of sophisticated technology. A state-of-the-art CRM will automate many of the most time-consuming tasks in the customer service workflow, enabling your team to work on research and other strategic initiatives, establishing value that lasts.
The more data you capture on customer preferences and personalities, the better your team is able to interact and communicate with each one. Achieving this level of customer service excellence is no accident – it is the result of comprehensive training with highly qualified experts in the field of customer experience optimization.
Are you ready to improve key performance metrics for customer retention? Book a session with one of our customer service training experts today.