Customer Service Skills Have Never Been More Important

Customer care has never been more integral to a maintaining company’s image, and the best practices of service can be imparted through training.

A service team taking customer calls.

Do companies today have what it takes to impress their customers?

Today’s business climate is heavily weighted in favor of companies that can deliver masterful customer service. Across industries, organizations of all kinds are reachable through a wide range of channels and at great distances thanks to the fully mainstream nature of online shopping. This easy access to companies means a dissatisfied customer can quickly and easily switch brands, turning one unsatisfactory interaction into a lost opportunity for repeat business.

Furthermore, the same online channels giving audiences access to a huge variety of companies have also allowed users to voice their displeasure to a global audience. One customer complaint can quickly become a public relations problem for a business, a greatly amplified version of negative word of mouth.

The primary way to stop these perception blunders from occurring is to ensure customer interactions are handled in capable and respectful ways, with employees responding quickly and effectively to every question or complaint. Such service and care abilities aren’t things people are born with — they can be taught. Companies should therefore focus on customer service training.

The Impact of Customer Service Training

Acceptable customer service is a minimum requirement every company should achieve to retain its audience. Truly great customer service, the kind inspired by relevant and effective training courses, can be a value-adding improvement. The exact skill set needed to provide this level of care and attention is constantly evolving, but that’s no reason for organizations to forego employee education. The stakes are too high to neglect training.

Industry author Peter J. Strauss used a recent Forbes Marketplace column to make his case for an overarching focus on customer service. He pointed out how his company, as with so many others, attracts a significant portion of its new business through testimonials and referrals. Organizations that successfully resolve the questions and concerns of their current audiences are making progress on two important issues at once, both retaining their present customer bases and making it easier to attract a new wave of clients. When service is good enough, businesses don’t have to choose between these two approaches to bottom-line building, as they’re accomplishing them simultaneously.

Another speaker and expert, Michel Falcon, also indicated the value of above-average customer service and experience processes. Organizations that can capture and act on advanced information about their customers are well-positioned to serve those individuals optimally over time, deepening loyalty and creating a self-perpetuating cycle of positive experiences. There are several ways such a system can fail to take hold, however. For instance, a failure to perform one step of a complete customer service process could weaken the overall interaction. Companies that collect data but don’t share it or act on it aren’t getting the full potential value out of their operations.

The through line between customer experience excellence over time is that businesses should never treat customer care as an afterthought, or fail to prioritize necessary skills and competencies. Organizations that don’t focus on interactions between their employees and their audiences may end up encountering numerous problems, as their current customers have many other companies to work with, and future potential clients may judge them by the public evidence of their current interactions. Fortunately, high-quality training materials are easily available on many facets of customer care.

A graph and the words What is the value of customer care excellence today?

Customer Service Training Examples

The courses dedicated to imparting customer service skills cover a variety of sub-topics, reflecting the varied abilities and techniques that go into creating positive customer interactions. The following offerings represent a few of these options, showing the different directions a training program can take:

  • Customer Service: So Help Me: This course, presented to both employees and supervisors separately and also available as microlearning modules, is based on counteracting common mistakes that damage the customer experience. By demonstrating examples of negative approaches to service, the video-based course guides employees toward greater responsibility and better results, teaching them to convert bad situations into service victories.
  • Customer Service Gone Viral: When employees take this course, they receive relevant and up-to-date lessons on the pitfalls and value of customer care in the era of social media. Now, one consumer’s experience can become a trending topic in a hurry, and the costs of careless service can be heavy.
  • Customer Service and Sales: Working as a Team: When customer service personnel don’t connect with the rest of the company, they may be missing opportunities to provide ideal assistance. By the same token, other departments have a lot to learn from the data collected during service interactions. This course helps sales and service personnel form a valuable partnership.

With the right training to keep their skills sharp and remind them of the practices to follow, customer service personnel can step into a role as primary contributors to a company’s success. While it was never advisable to overlook this part of a business’s operations, it is now especially reckless to ignore care and service. Organizations that invest directly in their customer service preparedness are fulfilling an important need.

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