Customer Experience News & Trends

Back to school: How colleges are improving the customer experience

You work hard to create great customer experiences. And now colleges are working to help you make them even better. Here’s how, why and what you can do to maximize the effort. 

Salesforce recently joined forces with UCLA and Santa Monica College to teach hard customer service skills that are in higher demand since COVID-19. Think things such as AI and data analysis – often tasks that were handled on-site by someone or a team who weren’t dealing directly with customers.

Now, and going forward, customer service professionals will likely need more technical and analytical skills – all in addition to the necessary soft skills.

“This program ultimately redefines traditional service agent norms. It gives way to customer service ‘superagents’ – those who have the cross-skills necessary to build success for the customer, the business, and their career no matter what the future holds,” says Nicole Granucci, a Senior Director of product marketing at Salesforce.

More than 30% of Americans have contacted customer service centers more since the start of the pandemic, Salesforce researchers found. So finding employees who are already equipped with customer service hard and soft skills will be critical to providing better customer experiences.

What they learn

Students enrolled – mostly remotely – take courses through Trailblazers for the Future, a service-focused college curriculum. It’s designed to prepare students for a job in customer service and includes curriculum on technical, product and soft skills. Ideally, students will come out already equipped to handle any level of customer interactions and help build brand loyalty.

What’s more, companies can more easily recruit skilled workers already on a career path in customer service with skills and expertise to eventually run a contact center.

How you can maximize on the trend

Because most of this customer-service-focused coursework is virtual-based learning, students aren’t tied down to one particular geographic area. Nearly any company can recruit students from the program – or get their new or veteran employees to take the courses.

Here’s how customer service courses might help your experience:

  • Crank up digital capabilities. Customers want personal help in more channels than ever – chat, social media, SMS, in-app messaging. Respond to – and connect with – customers in more channels, and you can improve satisfaction across the board.
  • Broaden your talent pool. People who might not have had access to customer-service-centered education – because of geography, and/or time – can access it through the online, on-demand learning. With remote learning and work, you can find well-qualified employees to amp up your customer experience.
  • Sweeten soft skills. While the college program is geared toward more technical skills, you can get more out of it with some courses that will help future contact center leaders – such as management and leadership.

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