Your customers are responsible for the success of your business. The marketing department goes to considerable lengths to attract new customers, but to keep them coming back, it takes a good product and excellent customer service.
According to the Queensland Government, it can cost ten times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. Despite this, many businesses let customers fall by the wayside as they become more successful and busier. On average, dissatisfied customers tell eleven people about their experience and they in turn tell five more – this amounts to 67 negative opinions from a single incidence of bad service.
The benefits of customer service training
This is why customer service training is so important to your business. If it isn’t up to scratch, you could be pouring your marketing budget down the drain. Customer service training can provide a wide range of benefits to your staff, including:
- Customer loyalty. Quality of service matters. If you exceed expectations and help out in any way you can, your customers remember the experience. The next time they need your product or service, they will come right back for more of your excellent service.
- Increased productivity. Accurately assessing what a customer is looking for and dealing with any issues they may have can improve your productivity. Poor customer service leads to an increase in complaints. Providing great customer service minimises time spent dealing with dissatisfaction and improves productivity.
- It pays for itself. The initial costs may seem high, but effective customer service training increases loyalty and positive referrals. It can pay for itself several times over.
- Continuing improvement. A trained staff member will listen to customer complaints and report pertinent points to management. This provides the raw information you need to improve your service and exceed customers’ expectations. Short surveys can assist in this process.
Key training methods
There are a variety of techniques for customer service training including classroom, media- and web-based training.
- Classroom training. Training your staff in a face to face environment allows you to conduct role-plays, encourage discussion and complete written exercises. This traditional teaching method offers flexibility – giving you the chance to elaborate on anything the group is struggling with and to provide feedback.
- Media-based training. This is a more affordable way to train staff but is rarely used as a stand-alone method. Videos and audio material can allow students to engage with educational scenarios. The concepts taught often apply to a range of customer service environments, regardless of industry.
- Web-based training. Online training is gaining popularity because it offers many of the advantages of the classroom at a reduced cost. Staff members can complete the training from home and it offers options for online testing. Interactive materials help staff engage with the training. However, personal presentations are difficult to assess online.
Trends for 2013
It is important to ‘keep ahead of the curve’. 2013 has been dubbed the “Year of the Customer” and they should be your principal focus. Customer service training puts you on the right path. Social media, your website, physical premises and staff all need to be geared towards improving the customer experience. Get it right and your organisation will have a very bright future.