The importance of training new and current staff members is very important in customer service, especially in a call center environment. The first impression of the company is likely based on how well the representatives respond to customers.
At Gordian Project when we hire a new CSR (Customer Service Representative), we want them to receive the best training possible. Our training consists of educating the representative in what we believe to be customer service’s three core responsibilities, which also happen to be our three main methods of contact. There are many aspects to training a CSR, but in order to properly execute communications with our customers we assign greater values to training on the phones/voicemail, email, and LivePerson.
Assigning responsibility to answering phones is pretty straight forward. The CSR is tasked with answering the customer service phone lines. Although this sounds simple it is also very important. We have several lines a customer can call into: CS cancellations, CS returns, and CS sales. Depending on what line the customer selects, the CSR assists them appropriately. The importance that we are attempting to impress upon the trainee here is that, each customer, depending on their need, will need to be taken care of differently. There are many reasons our customers call in, some of them being assistance placing an order, order status, product inquiry, checking stock, shipping inquiry, assistance in returning a product or requesting an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization). A qualified and seasoned representative should be able to help the customer that is calling for any of the above reasons, and not in a robotic fashion. For instance the person calling in that wants assistance in placing an order is likely unfamiliar with the product, the company, or placing an order online. Knowing these traits gives the representative the opportunity to forge a relationship with the customer, by helping them with products that may be needed to finish the installation of the product they are ordering, answering questions about our company so they are comfortable placing an order with us, or simply assisting a new internet user place an order.
We find the most efficient way in training someone on the phone is to let them shadow an experienced CSR. In doing this they can observe a variety of calls that we typically receive, and listen to the appropriate language that should be utilized in customer communications. This also allows trainees to ask the experienced CSR questions regarding the calls as they arise. Once the trainee has shadowed an experienced CSR for a set amount of time, the trainee is able to answer calls with the experienced CSR looking on so they are able to assist if any questions arise.
The second duty our new CSRs are trained on is voicemail. It is extremely important in a call center to get back to customers in a reasonable amount of time. Our goal is always returning a call within 24 hours, most of the time this goal is reachable depending upon the call volume. When voicemail queues are checked they are entered into a ticket system that has been created especially for voicemail. The ticket consists of entering any or all of the following information: First and last name, phone number, email, order number, and LivePerson ticket number. Contact type and an inquiry type should also be selected if the customer has left this information. A notes section is provided as well so that the person responsible for returning the call has all pertinent information. We feel all of these fields assist in our response and preparation for calling the customer back. Training a CSR in this area is simple and easy because all you have to do is enter the information left in the voicemail into the ticket fields. The importance we stress in this area is returning the customer’s voicemail within a reasonable amount of time.
The third task is Live Person which covers our email and chat program. All customer emails are sent through this program and they have the ability to chat with us during business hours by simply clicking the chat icon on our site. This area of customer service is also important because a number of our customers use the email and “chat” feature for product inquiries, order status, help with an order, help with a return, etc… The chat feature is becoming more popular everyday as it allows a customer to be connected with a CSR quickly without having to pick up a phone.
Training new or experienced CSRs in this area of customer service, puts their multi-task abilities to use. They must be able to answer several emails in a timely manner while taking chats in-between. Training on this task is similar to phones in that trainees shadow someone that is experienced in LivePerson. They explain how the program works and show them first hand how to answer emails and assist a customer via chat. Learning to answer emails can take some time as the CSR has to also be familiar with our order system and how to check for order status and return status. Our call center feels that Live Chat feature from LivePerson is one of our greatest tools as it allows a CSR to do more than one task at a time.
Successful training is very important for employees that are directly interacting with customers. The effectiveness of being able to assist customers is dependent upon the quality of the customer service skills they are taught, and the tools available to them. The way our employees represent customer service to our customers will determine how our customers feel about our business practices and can be a determining factor when or if they decide to do business with us in the future.