Why is it important?
We live in a constantly developing world, where people’s demands grow proportionally to new technologies/opportunities/options are offered. We value our time and, therefore, expect others to do the same. When we come to customer service staff, we look for immediate and effective replies from a representative. We now take this for granted. Therefore, having a well-educated support representative is a must.
The position of a customer support representative is usually a temporary job, where no education is required. So, “growing” the potential of candidates is a good practice nowadays. Moreover, if there is a lack of people on the market, it is easy to develop a circle of candidates for a company by providing free workshops with an emphasis on what is needed to become a customer support representative.
Activities for potential candidates:
- “Dive in” training. Here it is possible to tell more about the company's product, corporate culture, clients, etc.
- Organize general lectures on business communication, sales, emotional intelligence, stress resistance, time management, etc. Anything valuable and related to the reality the person is going to work in. These lectures have to have a practical part as well as the theory. This way it is more interactive and effective.
- Small homework assignments with feedback after they are done, keeping newcomers attentive and involved.
- Leaderboard. Creating a scoring system for participants is another option to add more desire for attending the trainings. Small gifts from companies leave a good impression, as well as good memories and chances to apply for open positions.
Training program for new employees
These activities should be thoroughly thought out before the final version of it is accepted. The company should experiment before the best solution is found. Possible schemes for the training:
- Theory first (in full), then practice in groups
- Theory first (in full), individual training afterwards
- Theory (in parts) mixed with group practice training
- Theory (in parts) mixed with individual practice training
According to the experience of CustomWritings client support, the most effective way is to gather people in groups, give out information about the CRM system, and explain the company's standards in parts rather than in full. Theoretical information afterwards should be immediately mixed with practice, however, with an individual approach with each member of the group.
Tools that can be used to organize and conduct newcomer trainings:
- Moodle. It helps to organize the process and for new employees to keep track of their success. It is possible to invite people to the training, share the materials, and grade their work. This is a great tool to customize and to secure your educational process for future customer representatives.
- Confluence. A support team is a group of people who are able to forget things, mix information up, and make mistakes. That is why it is necessary to create a space for representatives where they can easily find the necessary tips, guidelines, algorithms, and procedures.
Tip: A library with an option to search for information using keywords is a great solution.
- Typingweb is a tool to make reps blind type and save time for concentration on what to answer rather than how. It has different levels and awards for extra activities. The company should set their own standards of time per minute for employees.
Tip: People who assign this task to newcomers should pass it first to experience it.
Newcomer education tips:
- There should be at least two trainers present during the education day, as sometimes newcomers may ask a lot of questions, which is fine and normal for someone who just started learning.
- Employees should be given constant feedback about their work, homework assignments, behavior, etc.
- The process of education has to be clear and easy to follow. Charts or any other visual materials for the training program will keep the trainees posted and motivated.
- The company shouldn’t neglect feedback and ideas for improvement from new employees. They usually have a fresh perspective on the system and processes.
Experienced support education
Education for support services is a constant process that requires companies to learn and teach their employees new approaches and techniques almost every day. It is recommended:
- To test existing support staff at least two times per year. It will give the company an understanding that everyone is on the same page
- To use Classmarker, as it is a very convenient way to test the knowledge of every representative. It involves the creation of different types of questions (multiple choice, matching, open question, etc.)
- It is a plus to support the highest results with a bonus system.
- It is always a good idea to create a practice test before the actual one to show people (especially those who do it for the first time) what to expect.
- If it doesn’t matter how support services answer their customers, make it an open-book test.
On top of that, experienced customer support representatives should also:
1. Attend additional training to maintain their soft skills. Those can be “Communication with different types of customers,'' ''Upsale,'' “Conflict Resolution.”
- During such learning sessions, more real situations about real customers in the company should be discussed.
- Allowing the support team to give feedback to each other, or even to educate one another by sharing their everyday experiences with clients, should lead to success.
2. Participate in events that involve knowledge sharing.
- The members of the team can be suggested to create presentations on topics they are knowledgeable in. An analogy of TedTalks works well.
- Companies may create their own educational system for each representative two years ahead. Two years is the average time that a person works in a contact center of customwritings.com as a customer service representative.
- It is better to create a training program and educational plan adjusted to the objectives and plans of the company.