How to create a customer service training manual

Customer service training should be at the top of any business’s priority when dealing with customers/clients. For instance, did you know that 73% of customers fall in love with a service or brand because of excellent customer service. Similarly, 82% of customers have ceased business with a company due to poor customer service training. 

As more businesses transition online, Google makes it easy to be found. However, it also makes it easy for potential customers to see what previous customers have said about the business. Customers can determine if they want to do business with you through google reviews and their five-star rating system. 

I can tell you that 92% of people read online reviews. Likewise, 87% of customers will not consider businesses with a low star rating. Local guides – people who constantly visit businesses and write reviews – have stated that people typically will only consider a company under four stars; the same concept applies to professional settings. 

I mentioned earlier how easy it is for customers to leave negative reviews rather than positive ones. It only makes sense for businesses to invest in customer service training programs. Stick around, and we’ll tell you about the essentials of a good customer service training program.

What is customer service training?

Customer service training is the process of coaching or training employees that have direct contact with customers by improving support and satisfaction during transactions. There is also a significant emphasis on embracing excellent interpersonal skills in customer service training.

Customer service training applications

Customer service training has an extensive range of applications that can benefit entire companies or even help individuals progress in their careers. 

For example, one of the most well-known fast food restaurants, Chick-fil-a, sets the bar for customer service extremely high. I am not a big fan, but I cannot deny that their customer service is impeccable, which is why it’s my go-to food place. Moreover, customer service can extend to a doctor’s office, an attorney’s office, insurance companies, and even your cell phone carrier. 

Moreover, as an individual who has solicited the services of professional white-collar workers such as doctors and attorneys, I can say they often speak in complex words that the patient/client cannot understand. Then when asked to reiterate in layman’s terms, they often get visibly upset or frustrated with the client. Better customer service leads to better referrals.

Additionally, it can help individuals progress very far in pursuing their careers. There has been a significant surge in professionals wanting to freelance. This is great, but you must improve your interpersonal skills to retain and land many clients. I have witnessed several freelancers let go simply for terrible interpersonal skills. My thoughts have always been, “they must have a hard time finding work.”

What does a good customer service training program consist of? 

A great customer service training program will typically consist of several exercises that help build interpersonal skills, product knowledge, conflict resolution, and crisis management. 

Which interpersonal skills matter for customer service training programs?

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Self-discipline: Sometimes, you must hold your tongue back and be the bigger person. 
  • Great communication
  • Great listener
  • Empathetic 

While it is true that various skills fit under the umbrella of interpersonal skills, our technical writers agree that the list above is an essential skill set to focus on for customer service training programs.

Why is product knowledge relevant?

Product knowledge is essential because how can you sell or provide solutions/answers for a service/product you need to learn more. Customer service often deals with communicating about a product/service.

Why are conflict management and crisis management important?

Nine times out of ten, a customer will talk to a customer service representative because of a conflict that can lead to a crisis within the company. An employee should be able to handle adverse situations and de-escalate them. 

What are good customer service training practices?

Many businesses adopt the L.A.S.T. or L.E.A.S.T. method, so you should too.

What is the L.A.S.T method? What is the L.E.A.S.T?

The L.A.S.T. acronym stands for Listen, Apologize, Solve, and Thank. The L.E.A.S.T. acronym stands for Listen, Empathize, Apologize, Solve, and Thank. Both are very similar but showing empathy is essential. 

Other great practices: 

  • Be original – Nothing is more upsetting to a customer than speaking to a customer service representative that sounds unoriginal or scripted. Just be yourself and personalize your service. Customers like communicating with people that sound genuine.
  • Stay positiveIt is easy for someone to lose their temper. You need to discipline yourself. Customers can occasionally be tedious, but that goes without saying that the customer is always right.
  • Know your product – This one falls into the last section of a customer service training program. However, knowing your product is a good practice that every employee needs to dominate.
  • Be assertive – Customers can often take advantage of a shy employee and, under pressure, promise things they should not. Therefore it is essential to be assertive and confident.
  • Respond quickly – The faster you can address negative situations, the better. The longer you wait to handle a crisis, your business will come off as not caring for your customers.
  • Be a problem solver – This one also goes back to crisis and conflict management. A customer service representative always needs to de-escalating the situation creatively.
  • Actively listen – Refrain from interrupting the customer/client. Let them vent and express their displeasure. Maintain eye contact and avoid making unnecessary moments that suggest you are impatient and annoyed, such as tapping your finger.
  • Humanize yourself – Support your customers and be empathetic. It’s easier if you try to place yourself in the customer’s/client’s shoes and understand their feelings. Sometimes it’s better to respond as yourself than an actual customer service representative.
  • Go above and beyond – You should actively be helpful and address potential problems before they happen. Secondly, keep your word; if you promise to call back the next day, do it.

Here is my real-life scenario:

Before joining the Essential Data Corporation, I worked as a restaurant manager for a couple of years. Customer service was a requirement and is often an industry where customers complain the most—often, customers would find a way to try and take advantage of the staff. 

My staff often lack assertiveness, and the employees would take advantage of them. One day, a new hire lost their composure and lashed out due to a customer’s unreasonable request and pressure. Keep in mind that the customer was there celebrating a kid’s birthday. Now I have an upset customer with a crying employee and child.

First, I asked my employee to go into the back and relax for a bit. Then I immediately addressed the customer. All I did was bring some dessert for the kid to divert his attention and relax as I heard the customer. The customer just wanted to vent, and after that, the person settled. I took the blame and promised her I would address the issue by training my staff. I followed up with a joke that got a kick out of her. 

She most definitely left a review, and let me tell you; it was not negative but positive. As promised, I provided my employees with extensive customer service training. The customer continued to come back; all it cost me was some desert, but it cost me nothing to be kind. 

What are the benefits of excellent customer service training?

Happy customers create: 

  • Brand advocates – Customers often defend your company brand as the best to do business with and refer you to other potential customers.
  • Brand loyalty – Customers will view your product/service as the only viable option. They will always prefer your product/service over another.
  • Competitive advantage – Even if your prices exceed your competitors, you can maintain a competitive advantage through excellent customer service training.
  • Customer retention – You can measure the impact of your impeccable customer service training through the customers you have retained since implementing the program.

For example, I love Japanese food, and there are lots of Japanese restaurant options to eat around my area. However, I have driven two towns over just to the restaurant I love once a week for the past year because of their customer service, not to mention that they are a little on the pricey side.

Conclusion on customer service training 

Customer service training programs focus on coaching employees with direct contact with customers by improving support and satisfaction during transactions. During customer service training, employees need to hone excellent interpersonal skills, product knowledge, conflict resolution, and crisis management. 

If you ever doubt particular practices, you can research characteristics associated with the dark triad and avoid them.

There are several ways to start implementing customer service training programs. Technical writers have excellent documentation skills that can create exception manuals tailored to your business industry. If you have questions or need more professional help, do not hesitate to reach out.

Good luck in implementing your customer service training!

How Essential Data Corporation can help you 

Whether you need a single software technical writer for a brief project or a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation, the quality of our work is guaranteed for you. Our clients work closely with an Engagement Manager from one of our 30 local offices for the entire length of your project at no additional cost. Contact us at (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us 

Written by Pablo Mota