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Customer Service Training–Not Just for Agents Anymore Vasudha Deming

Every com­pany at some point (and ide­ally on a reg­u­lar basis) puts its front-line staff through cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing. And that's as it should be. These employ­ees are in direct and con­tin­u­ous con­tact with cus­tomers of the orga­ni­za­tion, and it's essen­tial that they have the skills, knowl­edge, and moti­va­tion to pro­vide excel­lent service.

But what about the rest of the orga­ni­za­tion? If the aim is to cre­ate and man­i­fest a cus­tomer ser­vice cul­ture, then all employ­ees should be involved. Fol­low­ing are five rea­sons to take your cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing company-wide.

1. Know­ing is not doing. Yes, many of the skills and top­ics cov­ered in cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing are fundamental—listen, be cour­te­ous, show empathy—and yes, most peo­ple learned them early on in life. But the mere knowl­edge that these skills are impor­tant is not enough. They have to be demon­strated and put into prac­tice on a reg­u­lar basis. Train­ing helps with that.

2. All employ­ees should "speak" a con­sis­tent ser­vice lan­guage. If the only peo­ple in the orga­ni­za­tion who are trained to under­stand and respond to cus­tomer needs are the front-line agents, then there's vir­tu­ally no chance of estab­lish­ing a strong ser­vice cul­ture across the orga­ni­za­tion. A company-wide train­ing ini­tia­tive helps all employ­ees to align their job roles with the over­all cus­tomer ser­vice mission.

3. Every job is a cus­tomer ser­vice job. Every employee has customers—even if they sit just down the hall. Don't these inter­nal cus­tomers also deserve to receive good ser­vice? What's more, the qual­ity of ser­vice pro­vided (or not pro­vided) to inter­nal cus­tomers even­tu­ally impacts the expe­ri­ences and impres­sions of exter­nal cus­tomers. For more on this, see my related blog post here.

4. Man­agers are mod­els. Whether con­sciously or uncon­sciously, employ­ees fol­low the lead of their man­age­ment. If man­agers strive to be customer-focused and service-oriented—and if they enthu­si­as­ti­cally par­tic­i­pate in training—the rest of the com­pany will get the mes­sage that it's important.

5. Yes, it mat­ters! The cus­tomer ser­vice demon­strated by employ­ees (regard­less of job title) mat­ters to cus­tomers, mat­ters to the bot­tom line, and per­haps most impor­tantly, mat­ters to the employee's own sense of sat­is­fac­tion and accom­plish­ment. That alone should be rea­son enough to go company-wide with cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing!

Vasudha leads the Per­for­mance Solu­tions Team at Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, reg­u­larly work­ing with lead­ing com­pa­nies to improve per­for­mance of their customer-facing ser­vice, sup­port, and sales teams. She is a lead devel­oper of Impact's suite of train­ing courses and has authored four books, includ­ing the pop­u­lar Big Book of Cus­tomer Ser­vice Train­ing Games, all pub­lished by McGraw-Hill.
5 Customer Service Training  Not Just for Agents Anymore
Vasudha Deming
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