3 Common Mistakes When Training on Customer Service

Reliable and effective customer service is the first step on the path to customer retention. But good customer service doesn’t come easy. It begins with the right training. Employees need to be trained to be empathetic, professional, confident, and capable. They need to be able to listen to a customer’s needs and respond in a way that is both emotionally and intellectually in sync. This is no easy job, and it can be significantly hindered by poor training.

1. Not Thinking About the Customer’s Needs

When a customer contacts customer service, it’s because they have needs — often practical and emotional. Many customers are frustrated, irritated, or wary; they have a problem and they need it fixed. Moreover, they want it fixed now. 26% of millennials prefer live chat or service line when they have a question, because they’re looking for the answers to their questions right away. CSRs need to be on the same page as their customers: and they can achieve this by drilling down to exactly what the customer wants.

This is where empathy comes into customer service training. CSRs need to acknowledge and validate the emotions that the customer is feeling in addition to trying to solve the problem itself. They also need to ensure that the problem has been adequately solved to the customer’s satisfaction before the customer ends the conversation. If nothing can be done to completely resolve the customer’s problem, the customer will still need to know the next step. All of this is to keep the customer from feeling as though their problems have been either ignored or minimized. Most customers will be very forgiving as long as they feel the company is working with them rather than against them.

2. Failing to Emphasize Damage Control

Every customer service representative eventually makes a mistake or inadvertently throws fuel on the fire — they are, after all, only human. Many customers are already irritable when they start the conversation and are thus primed to become irritated again. Because of this, damage control is an essential part of customer service. CSRs have to be trained on how to deal with irate clientele and — most importantly — how to deescalate a situation.

Companies may occasionally make a mistake, but most customers will ultimately judge them based on whether or not the company resolved that mistake. Remaining professional and courteous is essential. While the customer may have something to lose (such as their money or their time), the CSR only has something to gain: turning an upset customer into a happy one. CSRs should be trained not to take their conversations personally and should be praised for their ability to keep a cool head. Remember: customer service professionals are people too, and they can also get frustrated. Teaching employees coping skills through customer service training will help them better manage their own emotions.

3. Focusing Too Much on Productivity

Many businesses make the mistake of focusing purely on the number of customers served rather than how well the situation was resolved. They may try to encourage this during customer service training through the use of strict protocols and scripted communications. Modern customers are extremely savvy to standard CSR operations. Not only can many of them easily detect scripted conversations, but they also become frustrated very easily by them — even if they are actually relevant to the problem at hand. By enforcing protocols and scripting, businesses may alienate their clientele.

Rather than enforcing protocols, businesses should give their service representatives tools that they can use to provide customer care. CSRs should be trusted to find the best ways to satisfy their customers — rather than focusing on how many customers are served, you should focus on how satisfied those customers are.

When customer service professionals are trained properly, they are able to not only fix a customer’s problems but also make them feel better about the process of troubleshooting and correction. Ideally, a customer will come away with a better perception of the company than they had before — and will be more likely to engage with the company later on! All of this makes customer service one of the most important aspects of building the customer and company relationship.