April 7, 2015
customer facing 4 Training Tips for Customer Facing AgentsWhen customers call in to your call center more than likely they are doing so because either they need a question answered that they can’t sort out on their own, they require technical assistance or they’ve been prompted to do so to complete a transaction. Regardless of the reason they are calling, when they do get through to your customer facing agent, they expect the agent to be knowledgeable, professional, courteous and help them navigate quickly through your system to a quick solution.
Training that specifically targets areas of efficiency, competency, and customer service are essential, but delivering excellent customer service is more likely to happen when quality training is paired with a robust software system that delivers real-time data to the customer facing agent. CRM software that allows the agent to quickly access billing and shipping information, past transactions for a customer, sales information, and up-to-date product and service information are powerful and important tools for delivering excellent customer service.
Assuming your call center is operating with software that provides agents with the data they need to perform at their best, let’s look at specific training tips for customer facing agents.
1.Knowledgeable. Even though customers are more product savvy and knowledgeable they still expect the company representative to be the expert. Training your customer facing agents about company products and services needs to be ongoing so that agents are offering the most current advice and help. Knowledge extends beyond just the product and service being offered and includes systems and department knowledge. If a customer’s need is beyond the ability of an agent to handle, the agent needs to be trained to know how to use the system to escalate the issue or which department or person is most appropriate.
2.Professional. It is no secret that customer facing agents often deal with upset and frustrated customers. Training that specifically targets how to effectively work with such customers is important so that issues don’t escalate becoming an even bigger problem. When customer facing agents can remain professional, even in the most trying circumstances, your company’s overall image will remain favorable to the public. When an agent loses his or her cool and there is a record of the conversation that can be posted on social media, suddenly your company is having to deal with a public relations campaign that could have possibly been avoided altogether had the agent had the right training.
3.Courteous. While agents are under pressure to resolve customer issues in an efficient manner, sometimes what gets lost are the manners. Knowing how to be efficient and courteous is a skill that is learned in training and then practiced over and over. More customers are seeking personalized care and this desire dovetails with being courteous. Training that focuses on appropriate uses of canned responses and going “off script” is important for setting a courteous, professional and personalized tone with the customer.
4.System navigation. Customers don’t want to have to sit on hold while your customer facing agent figures out which department or person might better help them. Training agents to know the role and function of each department and how to quickly patch the customer through to the best person or department goes a long ways in delivering quality customer experiences. This is also where an organization’s software comes into play as customers don’t want to repeat themselves every time they are transferred to a new person or department. Having quick access to a customer’s history helps alleviate stress and frustration for all parties.
As with all training programs, they should be relevant, easy to absorb, and appropriate to the learner. Making training tools available for various types of learners is important if what is being taught is to be incorporated into the workplace.
Customer facing agents are under a lot of stress and pressure but a good training program that is ongoing pays off in that employees are more satisfied in their jobs, which ultimately translates to more satisfied customers.