There is one thing we know to be true: the customer is always right.
If you haven’t heard already, by 2020 customer experience will bypass product and price as the number one brand differentiator. This information shouldn’t come as a shock. For the past decade there has been increased pressure to deliver exceptional customer service that exceeds expectations of buyers.
Consumers want a company they can trust. And the number one contributing factor in how much a people trust a company is – you guessed it – customer service.
Are companies doing what it takes to delight customers?
According to a study conducted by Bain & Company, 80% of CEOs believe they deliver superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree.
That’s a startling huge disconnect.
What does training have to do with customer service, you ask?
The competition is only getting tougher, and fine-tuning your customer service program, whether you use an automated help desk, a nearshore call center, or something else entirely, is one way to get a leg up over the competition. Delivering great service and making customers happy involves a lot of moving parts. And each part needs to be focused on separately. As much as it is important to know the customers’ opinion before launching a product, likely through Conjointly’s MaxDiff Tool, so is knowing the post-purchase experience through a feedback tool. And for each task, a different set of people may be required.
This may sound a lot, but to keep this post short, sweet, and to the point, I want to focus on a specific area that doesn’t get enough attention: training and development.
Truth be told, you can’t support the needs of your customers without empowering your employees. Companies that invest the time, money and energy into giving employees the knowledge and skills they need to do their job well perform exponentially better than those who do not.
Here are 3 ways a well-polished learning and development program can improve your customer service:
- Brings internal and external employees up to speed. Change is the only constant. Employees across all levels, departments and locations need to be brought up-to-speed on new products, systems, technologies and processes quickly and easily. The easiest way to do this is through formal training. Packaging new information and delivering it through a learning management system (LMS) can help you cut down on the time and cost of educating your workforce. You can assign new courses, manage content and users, track progress and report activities and learn from the results. But, most importantly, you have a clear, cohesive learning path that allows your employees to hit the ground running after they’ve competed training. Employees have access to the information they need, when they need it, so they can always be ready to support the needs of the customer.
- Ensures global brand consistency and experience. People except brand experience and consistency. Let’s use a retail chain as an example. If a customer walks into your store in Paris, Texas, will they have the same experience a customer walking into your store in Paris, France? Providing standardized learning and training programs across your domestic or global organization ensures everyone has the right knowledge and skills to represent your brand and its values.
- Allows for continuing leadership development. Here’s a not-so-fun-fact – according to Deloitte, 86% of business and HR leaders believe they do not have an adequate leadership pipeline, and 79% believe they have a significant retention and engagement problem. How can you continue to provide great customer service if the right leadership is not in place? Or if you’re worried about retention and turnover? Be proactive about employee engagement and development by offering leadership and development paths that allow your people to sharpen their skills and learn new things. The results? A happier and more productive workforce with the knowledge and skills in place to delight your customers
There’s no arguing customer service isn’t important. It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience (Ruby Newill-Legner).
Making customers happy takes a lot of focus and dedication. Don’t skip out on training – it’s an important first-step in creating raving fans.