Kate Nasser was so kind to spend some time with me discussing customer service training and the ways that she has proved to be successful in making this important effort successful. In this segment, we’ll learn about customer service training ideas and activities, but if you’d like to watch our entire conversation, click here.
So, you’ve named already a couple of things that could be learned in customer service training. You named the personality types and adapting to those and focusing; what other topics do you typically train on, especially with regard to customer service, for teams in that area?
Listening, listening, listening.
In fact, I’m going back to a company, I have done work with them now for probably 15 years and they have a much bigger call center now, a tech support-type call center, it’s global. I’m going back to do very specific listening skills training. So, for example, picture you are a computer user, you are not super tech savvy. You call the tech support department in a large corporation for a assistance. What is it that that technical support has to listen for and how do they listen?
So, first, what is the technical problem? Which is what most people think – no, you also have to listen for the tone of the customer, are they already upset, are they on a deadline, what’s going on in their world, how do you speak with them, how do you calm them down, how do you get the information you need and then, if you can’t solve it, how do you pass it to another tech?
Listening skills – and what most people don’t realize, and I haven’t published this material yet, I teach it, but I haven’t put it into a book, which I’ve been working on – and that is that most people don’t realize that there are two different listening styles. Two natural styles and most people have one style or the other. We actually train people on how to listen to the customer talking, you’re listening for what is their natural listening style, then you use their style to listen to them and they melt like butter in your hand.
So, listening is very important, also, always service recovery skills are very, very important. Even the best reps can’t be perfect, nobody’s perfect. What happens when a customer calls up and they are upset or irate or worse, what do you do at that moment and then how do you recover – once they’ve calmed down and so forth – how do you recover, what do you say, how you resecure the trust. Service recovery skills are a huge part of customer service training because there’s excellence, but there’s no perfection.
There’s all of that, how to handle difficult customers. This is a question I get a lot: how are we to stay objective and still caring when someone is yelling and screaming at us? I had one person – I had already been teaching for about 15 years and I went in to do a very large call center at a federal government agency. There were a lot of people in the room – we weren’t doing it as training, more as sort of a face-to-face webinar – one person said to me, after all those years of teaching, the first person ever to say to me “why do we have to be nice to somebody who’s yelling at us?” So, I answered it and then I put that into the training as well.
I’m always learning, which is what keeps this exciting. Every time I teach, I learn something new, every single time. It is never boring, ever.