Advice from a Customer-Facing Leader: 3 Training Methods Everyone in the Service Industry Should Consider

You’ve put together an incredible team to help your customers. You’ve searched far and wide to find the right people with all the right skills to help take your business to the next level. You’re all set, right? Unfortunately, we know it takes more than just putting together an amazing group of individuals for a customer service team to succeed.

While there are many factors that contribute to the success of a team, one that can really elevate a frontline team is how well they’re trained and empowered with the information they need to do their job well. In the service industry specifically, it can be tempting to overlook employee training and development. 

When asking “How important is training in the service industry?”, the answer is simple: It’s critical to success. Right now, you’d be hard pressed to find a company who isn’t working its hardest to get new customers and to keep and grow their existing ones. Every touchpoint in the customer experience is an opportunity to make a difference, and top-notch training is vital.

Making top-notch training happen

There are, of course, numerous details that go into an excellent experience, but a company’s training delivery methods, types of training, and a focus on continuous training can play an enormous role in tapping into your biggest resources: your people and teams. Often, people and teams are the knees making the biggest difference for your customers, whether they’re providing incredible support, reflecting the personality of the business, or helping your customers get the most out of your product or service. 

For the next few minutes, we’ll take a look at a few important aspects to consider when weighing out your training approaches. Three areas that should be intentionally focused on are…

  1. Onboarding (where team members learn the ropes of the company and their role
  2. Ongoing training (how team members continue to grow and learn)
  3. Moment-of-need training (how team members access what they need, when they need it)

1. Onboarding

Onboarding is a critical time in a new employee’s journey. It not only lays the foundation of knowledge for your new team member, but it also sets the tone for how they’ll represent the company. In today’s remote world, some traditional training methods we associate with onboarding may be difficult to control and facilitate. Where previously a classroom training method or teammate shadow may have been the norm, today that’s difficult to safely execute with our current global environment. That being said, many companies have been embracing more modern training methods and technology over the past several years. 

It’s also so tempting to throw every piece of information at a new hire for the sake of getting them in the loop fast. But, I’d challenge you to pace yourself and roll out information gradually as a new team member needs to know it as they’re ramping. In my book, you get bonus points if you can line up the delivery of information to when they actually need it. For example, does an in-depth dive into your CRM make sense in week two, when they won’t be doing anything there until week six? Keeping this information streamlined and focused will help provide clarity to the new team member and keep them from getting overwhelmed with information that they don’t need (yet).

2. Ongoing training

Ongoing or continuous training can be easily overlooked, but can also make or break how your team performs. Even the best teams need to learn and practice to keep up with the speed of business. Holding frequent practice sessions, providing outlets and on-the-job training examples for individuals to continue growing in their role is critical to keeping your all-stars and cultivating future leaders. Without some aspect of ongoing training, your teams won’t be performing at their best and ultimately your customers will be the ones who see the effects. On the other hand, if you can excel in this field, you’ll not only have a more engaged team, but they’ll provide the best service and solutions to your customers. It’s a real win-win!

3. Moment-of-need training

Accessing information in a moment of need can be gigantic help to your efficiency and can help make you and your team look like heroes to the customers. These days, we all work across many platforms, tools, and processes. It’s hard to keep up sometimes, but embracing technology and leveraging it to keep your teams up to speed and in the loop helps. It not only ensures your team has the most updated, relevant information, but it can also level-up your team members, provide them with opportunities to help others on their team, and even help teams scale more effectively and efficiently through times of growth. 

Without easy access to the most up to date information on these processes and procedures, your team will have to take extra time to find and learn them, which takes the effort away from them doing what they’re best at; serving the customer. Executing here means that your team can quickly grab the information they need when and where they are, thus allowing them to seamlessly stick to the right process while giving your customer a terrific experience. 

Final thoughts

The teams we all look up to and the experiences we want to have are being delivered by well-trained and well-empowered individuals. Of course, doing all of this is much easier said than done, but by taking a thoughtful approach to onboarding, continuous training, and moment-of-need training, you’ll be on your way in no time. 

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