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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 interactions with employees. A top-notch customer service training manual can make or break your business! 

As more businesses transition online, Google makes it easy to be found. However, the digital world 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 online reviews and rating systems. Working proactively to build customer rapport is critical to growing and maintaining a successful business.

Given that 92% of people read online reviews, 87% of customers will not consider engaging with 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. 

Most of the time, customers are more compelled to leave negative reviews rather than positive ones. Customers expect a good experience to be the standard, and a bad ones can break your reputation. Thus, 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

These trainings have 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. Whether or not you are a fan of the chain, it is tough to deny that their customer service is impeccable, which is why it is the go-to fast food place for many. Customer service not only builds a better customer experience, but it often enhances their perception of your product or service as well. Customer service exists everywhere, and can extend to a doctor’s office, an attorney’s office, insurance companies, and even your cell phone carrier. 

When speaking with professional white-collar workers such as doctors and attorneys, many customers report that say they often speak in complex words that the patient/client cannot understand. Then, when asked to reiterate in layman’s terms, employees and professionals often get visibly upset or frustrated with the client. This only hurts your business. Better customer service leads to better referrals.

Additionally, these training services 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. Many freelancers are let go simply for terrible interpersonal skills. Especially when you have valuable and marketable skills, it is critical to develop good customer service in order to land contracts.

a group of customer services representatives, dressed in business clothing with phone headsets, who have undergone customer service training

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. How can you sell or provide solutions/answers for a service/product if you are not fully informed? Customer service often deals with communicating about a product/service. It is critical to work on continually gaining the most recent product knowledge in order to best assist customers.

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 if ignored. An employee should be able to handle adverse situations and de-escalate them. This also helps the wider company address common issues and avoid business disruptions or customer losses down the road.

a employee helping a customer in a golf shop, representing the importance of a customer service training manual

What are good customer service training practices?

Many businesses adopt the L.A.S.T. or L.E.A.S.T. method. It is comprehensive and can be a great guide to beginning your training!

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 the latter contends that showing empathy is essential.

In both, it is critical to 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.

Other great practices: 

  • Be original – Nothing is more upsetting to a customer than speaking to a customer service representative that sounds unoriginal or scripted. Encourage employees to be themselves and personalize their service. Customers like communicating with people that sound genuine.
  • Stay positive – It is easy for someone to lose their temper, but it is important to stay calm in these situations. Thus, employees need to discipline themselves. Customers can occasionally be tedious, but it goes without saying in many industries 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. Additionally, the longer you wait, the more you risk upset customers sharing their negative feelings about your business online.
  • 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.
  • 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 as a customer service representative.
  • Go above and beyond – Employees should actively be helpful and address potential problems before they happen. Secondly, ensure that employees keep their word; if they promise to call back the next day, it is essential that they follow through.

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.

a receptionist helping a traveller at a hotel, representing the importance of a customer service training manual

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 training, employees need to hone excellent interpersonal skills, product knowledge, conflict resolution, and crisis management. 

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, don’t hesitate to reach out.

How Essential Data Corporation can help you 

Whether you need a single 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 to get started.