Philippa Thomas of Inspire Me shares three key principles that will help you to better support your customer service team through the training process.
Every business has a unique process of training new recruits. Maybe your company covers two weeks of product training then a few days of shadowing. But does your onboarding process cover the emotional credentials that your agents, old and new, require?
Your people on the front line deal with the constantly evolving and ever increasing expectations of your customers. For the duration of their interaction, your agents are the face, voice and embodiment of your brand. They have the ability to make or break your most valuable relationships.
- How have I supported my people to represent what my brand stands for?
- What tools have I given them to embody my brand values?
It’s best to start with the basics. What are your brand values and how do YOU embody them? The best place to start is with yourself.
When a person is a great fit with an organization their personal values are aligned with the values of the organization.
It’s relatively easy to be on brand on a good day. The challenge is always how to remain on brand on a day when things aren’t going right.
Welcome to the reality of your contact centre agents.
Having spent the last five years working with agents on the front line, they tell me that one of the biggest challenges they face is the lack of control they feel they have on their shift.
Like it or not, humans love to feel in control and enjoy predictability. As a customer service advisor working in a contact centre when you are taking call after call, especially during unexpected peaks, you often feel at the mercy of your customers and their ever changing moods. One negative interaction can affect your entire day.
When delivering customer service training, trainees always want to know how best to deal with difficult customers. Frontline employees want the ability to be able to stay on brand, maintain their quality and remain positive whatever is thrown at them, and this is something that is often left out of in-house training.
So, what can you do to help train your people to be more resilient?
1. Incorporate Emotional Intelligence and Values Training Into Your Onboarding Process
It’s far easier to establish culture from the beginning rather than introduce it as time goes on. Your behavioural expectations of your people should be defined in your values, and individuals who display the qualities outlined in your values should be the ones that got the job.
Think of your values being like your vision. They define what you are looking to achieve from a behavioural standpoint, so if you aren’t clear on what that is, you won’t be able to recognize it when you see it.
Make sure your values are easy to understand. As with any message, clarity and simplicity is key! You want them to be referred to every day, so think about the language that is used by people in your organization that are most culturally valuable.
When choosing your values make sure to also define what that value looks like in practice. An easy way to do this is to think about who in your business currently represents the brand internally.
What example comes to mind of something that someone in your team did that exemplifies the experience you want to create for your customers? Mirror that, and you won’t go far wrong.
2. Roll Out Your Values Training (and Refreshers) to All Layers of Your Organization
This is because values are either throughout an organization, or non-existent! Your values are your guide to how to behave at work in every interaction but also to how you expect to be treated by colleagues and managers.
Nothing breeds disengagement and resentment like a sales agent going above and beyond for your organization only to get their pay docked for needing some flexibility when dealing with a personal problem.
3. Invest in Your People by Teaching Them About Themselves
Finally, it’s worth knowing that people love learning more about themselves and flourish if they feel an organization is invested in their personal development.
Aiding their understanding of this through training will not only make them better employees but it will also make them far more loyal to you and your brand.
Think how much staff turnover costs you per year. A happy engaged workforce is the key to a happy growing business.
It really can be that simple!