Building a learning program for your customer service team isn’t something to take lightly. Great customer service is crucial for any business looking to reach its full potential, and while some companies are on the right track — just over 80 percent of Americans agreed their service expectations were met or exceeded in an American Express survey — many others aren’t.
Providing your customer service team with all the learning it needs to perform at its best demands a lot of time and energy. To help you avoid wasting both, we’ve put together a guideline on building an effective learning program below.
Creating Courses Tailored to Individual Needs
Every business should invest in a quality Learning Management System (LMS). This empowers your management team with the tools to create a bespoke virtual learning space unique to your company.
Managers, team leaders, admins and agents all have access to key data relating to learning. Dashboards can be customized quickly and easily, enabling you to track progress and monitor employee education in just a few clicks.
One major benefit of a great LMS is having the means to distribute learning courses to specific workers. The aim is to identify flaws in their current way of working (through a comprehensive quality assurance program and performance campaign) and building courses that offer solutions.
Courses should cover different aspects of your customer service team’s responsibilities, goals and everyday processes.
Testing Employee Knowledge and Progress with Quizzes
Simply delivering learning courses and expecting customer service agents to start performing to a higher standard overnight is unrealistic. Even the best workers may need plenty of time to absorb new techniques and practices.
You have to monitor the progress of all employee education to minimize wasted time and maximize the program’s effectiveness. Your LMS enables you to send quizzes to agents and test their knowledge with a few well-chosen questions.
This is an interactive way to gauge their progress and learning capabilities, rather than trusting training to take root without a follow-up.
Delivering Feedback and Coaching to Improve Skills
The term ‘feedback’ can be enough to inspire dread in even the most experienced customer service agents. And that’s understandable for anyone who’s received harsh criticisms from a manager, particularly when its not constructive.
That’s something you have to bear in mind when building a learning program for your workforce: feedback is an essential component of a successful program, but it must be a positive experience for employees.
Providing feedback is a great opportunity to review customer interactions and related data with agents, identifying problems and sharing lessons to improve their performance. Coaching should be carefully tailored to every employee’s needs, aligning with their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Feedback and coaching is easy to deliver with the best QA software, allowing employees to learn at their own workstation with minimal disruption to their routine.
Reporting on Performance to Track Development
You can share your customer service team’s development with management, team leaders, agents and quality analysts through reports. Creating insightful reports on individual and group performance is vital to determine where your learning program is hitting or missing the mark.
Reports can be generated using a variety of data from different sources, including scorecards. These are made up of questions related to numerous areas of performance during interactions, and allocate a score to the employee’s work. This should continue to improve over time as staff undertake learning lessons.
By creating and studying reports, management can keep learning relevant and on-target, reducing the risk of wasted time.
Basing Lessons on Customer Insights
Your customers have their own opinions on your customer service team’s performance — but are you giving them the chance to share?
Invite your audience to speak its mind and tell you why they’re happy / unhappy with your business’s service. This offers insights into aspects of performance you may not have considered before.
For example, you may have overlooked the amount of time consumers spend waiting on hold before they’re connected to an agent over the phone or live chat. This is fairly likely considering the average American spends 43 days of their life on hold.
In this case, one reason for slow responses could be the amount of time your agents take to resolve problems and complete interactions. You would have to rectify this in your learning program, finding ways for employees to streamline their service. Hopefully, the results would be positive and give customers a better experience — all thanks to asking for their views.
Making Changes to Align with Results and Goals
Your learning program won’t be set in stone: it should be more of a fluid, dynamic thing. Why?
Because, over time, your business goals and your team’s results will change. Perhaps you discover the learning courses you created to improve customer engagement aren’t generating the expected results
and decide to replace them with something different.
That may not be ideal if you’re scrapping the focus on engagement completely, but it could be
pareddown to accommodate another key topic. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your learning program as performance results and objectives dictate.
Establishing a Regular Learning Routine
Learning must be an ongoing process for your customer service team. Never be complacent and assume your employees are firing on all cylinders — chances are, there’s very real
room for improvement.
Sit down with management, team leaders, admins and whoever else you feel necessary to create a plan for learning. New lessons should be devised and distributed regularly, to a set schedule rather than sporadically.
Your customer service team needs to get into the habit of honing skills, questioning the current approach and trying new things for better performance.
A great learning program has the power to transform your customer service team’s performance for years to come. But you have to take the time to think it through carefully first or you’ll only waste everyone’s time (including that of your customers).
Consider the 7 steps explored above when creating your own learning program. Incorporate data gathered from your audience and your workforce, and try to determine the most effective way to achieve the results you’re aiming for.
Planning courses, quizzes and more to build a better team may seem daunting at first, but you’ll be glad you made the extra effort when you start to see better performance across your business.
Do you have any other tips for making a learning program for a customer service team? Let us know!