Poor customer service can sink your bottom line. In fact, 66% of B2B customers said they’ve stopped buying from vendors after a bad customer experience, according to a report from Zendesk.
Lousy customer service can completely erode the success of a business, regardless of how good its products and services are. Leaders who strive to improve customer satisfaction will fare best in an increasingly competitive tech market.
In many cases, chronically bad service can be traced back to inadequate customer support training. Most business leaders realize the customer experience directly affects the company’s brand, image, and ability to retain clients. However, most do not put sufficient emphasis on improving customer support training methods.
Devising Ways to Improve Customer Satisfaction has Emerged as a Top Strategic Priority
More than 8 in 10 leaders of B2B companies said providing a great customer experience is a main objective, according to a 2015 survey from Accenture. With the prevalence of online review sites and social media, “word of mouth” has never been so powerful. Now, one instance of bad customer service can seriously injure a brand. It also leads to diminished retention and drives clients to competitors.
On the flipside, the reputation a company gains from good customer service results in more engaged customers, higher retention and increased revenue. Research from American Express found 66% of consumers would spend more for a better experience.
To avoid churn and keep customers happy, customer service must be top notch. When seeking to improve customer satisfaction, the first step is effective customer support training.
Here are 5 tips to strengthen your customer support training system.
1. Invest in Customer Support Training Beyond Just Product Knowledge
Your customer service agents have the potential to provide an exceptional experience for your clients — to transform dissatisfied skeptics into brand loyalists. However, customer support is not an innate skill. Reps require comprehensive and continuous training to ensure positive interactions with both customers and technology.
Support reps can only be successful if they are equipped to answer customers’ questions. To acquire a high level of mastery, customer support training must include a significant amount of hands-on experience with your company’s products or services.
Customer support training should also include an emphasis on developing “soft skills,” including communication, problem solving, resourcefulness and emotional intelligence. Effective reps show empathy to frustrated customers, know when and to whom to escalate issues, and are quick on their feet when problems arise.
Whether these traits can be taught is debated, but they can certainly be encouraged. And they should be — at the end of the day, the support agents who provide the best customer experiences solve problems while making the customer feel valued.
2. Mentorship and Knowledge Sharing is Key
Pair new employees with veterans during the initial stages of customer support training. Although newly minted support reps will have a fair share of independent learning to do, seeing firsthand how successful support agents do their job is invaluable to the learning process.
Before they begin handling support tickets on their own, allow new reps to shadow veterans on the phone. Then, when it’s time for the new employee to take the reins, the veteran should observe them for support and to give feedback. A continuous feedback loop is integral to efforts to improve customer satisfaction.
Additionally, having a dedicated go-to person for asking questions is extremely helpful for support agents. In a role where they are expected to have all of the answers, coming forward with questions of their own might be intimidating for customer support staff. Establishing mentor-mentee relationships sets the precedent for open communication and knowledge sharing.
3. Make Expertise the Expectation
When a customer reaches out to a support representative for help, they expect that person to provide the correct answers as quickly as possible. Agents should have a comprehensive understanding of the product or service they represent, and where to go if they need additional answers.
Beyond this base knowledge, it is also necessary to provide an avenue for continued learning. As the product evolves, support reps must remain abreast of new features and updates, and be able to troubleshoot based on this new information.
With WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform (DAP), learning to use new features on any SaaS product is instantly simplified. The platform’s contextual guidance and on-screen navigation accelerates time-to-competence, enabling customer service reps to provide assistance for a wider array of functions within the software.
4. Use Training Software as an Aid
Support agents deal with many different digital platforms each day. In addition to the software product that the company sells, support agents must also use their ticketing, call center, social media, live chat, and survey tools effectively.
In the quest to improve customer satisfaction, WalkMe works by preserving the sanity of the support agents in the day-to-day. As a platform agnostic tool, guidance can reside on any of the software tools that agents use — including the product they represent — which makes switching between them seamless and easy. During customer support training, simplifying such processes can have a profound effect on learning.
While WalkMe enables support agents to more effectively perform certain job processes, it can also reduce the volume of inbound help requests by making it easier for users to navigate software themselves.
The platform also helps support agents compartmentalize issues by aggregating similar problems and turning them into onscreen guidance. In the future, users will have the opportunity to use the guidance on their own before reaching out for help.
5. Show Appreciation for Great Support Agents
Successful support agents know how to increase customer satisfaction. They do so by promptly and effectively solving users’ problems. Without them, customer retention would suffer, and so would the company’s bottom line. While customer support training and learning should be a top priority for customer service managers, so should recognizing their value.
Show your hardworking reps some love with a company happy hour, some swag or even just a genuine thank you. Positive feedback and incentives will go a long way to keep them happy and ensure your customer satisfaction is off the charts!