Customer Experience News & Trends

To get the experience right, get training right first: 5 keys

You want to make the customer experience right every time. So you need all employees committed to it. But are you training them well enough to get it right?

Maybe not, according to a recent West Unified Communications Services survey. One-third of employees say current training isn’t a productive use of their time.

But there’s good news. Employees are eager to up their skills and create better experiences. More than 40% would like more training in the coming year — and the more customized to what’s expected of them, the better, the study found.

Customer experience leaders can get the best results from training by including these five elements that researchers say make it most effective:

1. A social setting

We’re not talking about a social media setting. We mean an actual setting where people get together and share ideas and conversation.

Employees find learning more rewarding when they interact and can build relationships with other people who will be doing the same task as them, researchers found. When they train in a group they also form a network of people who will share ideas and best customer experience practices when working with customers.

2. The right environment

Ideally, employees should learn and work in a physical environment that allows them to interact and talk informally (while staying on task, of course).

When in a classroom, it’s best be set up so participants face each other, rather than look at the backs of each other’s heads. Even better: Keep it near their workstations so they can meet and discuss what they’ve learned and how they’ll put it in practice when they work with customers.

3. The right mix

Ideally, employees at all levels should get some training in the customer experience. Some companies even make customer service training part of job expectations for everyone — from front-line employees and supervisors to managers and executives. Including everyone inspires cross-functional learning.

Managers can show that they support learning by attending sessions they don’t facilitate. It helps them keep up with customer issues and broaden the knowledge they need to help customers, when necessary.

4. Self-direction

When employees have some control over what, how and when they learn, they’ll be more invested in it.

So before you create the great customer experience training plan, get some feedback. Give employees options for training topics and offer a variety of ways to obtain the information — for instance, online, self-guided, classroom, peer-to-peer, etc.

You’ll likely find that people in different areas will want an emphasis on different parts of the experience. Anticipate that no two training sessions will be the same.

5. Activity

People remember what they’ve done better than what they’ve been told.

Give employees every possible opportunity to try their new skills as they’re learning them.

For instance, if some employees don’t usually answer emails, calls or social media posts from customers, let them try it. If others don’t typically do behind-the-scenes troubleshooting, get them involved in a group that does.

A broader view of the entire experience helps employees get through almost anything with customers down the road.

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