4 Training Tips for Customer Facing Agents

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.

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