Customer Service Training: Why Practice is Essential

At Lessonly, we’ve helped hundreds of teams across the globe learn, practice, and Do Better Work. Over and over again, we found that the best teams examine their training efforts through six key phases: Assess, Plan, Build, Learn, Practice, and Perform.

So, what sets the high-performers apart from the rest of the competition? Companies that offer teams with opportunities to rehearse and refine their skills. With realistic practice scenarios, teams of all kinds can break away from the status quo and delight customers like never before. Lessonly’s CEO, Max Yoder, and Josh Streets, Senior Leader of Contact Center Operations at U.S. Cellular joined Execs in the Know to share insights about how they fuel improvement through practice and feedback. Check out the transcript below for the Practice segment of this six-part series.


Max: If we move to the next step—and second to last step in the Better Work Method—it’s practice. When we started Lessonly, we didn’t have our eyes on practice. Practice was something that we learned was incredibly important over time. When we think about practice, it’s really about giving somebody a safe environment to try the thing that you’ve just taught them.

A lot of times, contact centers need somebody to learn how to speak to a new promotion. And the first time they really get to practice speaking about that new promotion, it’s on a phone call with a customer. That’s a tough spot to put somebody in when they’re trying to answer questions about something specific for the first time. We’ve modeled all of the different places that call center or contact center reps interact with prospects and customers and we’ve emulated them.

So, whether it’s a chat, ticket, email, phone, or webcam environment, you can let people try something new in a safe place. Whether it be explaining a certain promo, handling a specific objection, or responding to a ticket, practice is a way for you to give them a space to give something new a shot without restrictions.

While reps will probably feel uncomfortable during their practice sessions, that’s a better time for them to feel uncomfortable, and we see tremendous gains when the practice happens than when it doesn’t.

When practice happens, the knowledge retention for some of our customers has gone up by five times.

By giving reps the chance to flex their muscles and give it a shot, companies see a big boost of people who do that new thing well. In order to maximize these practice scenarios, it’s also important to let reps know how they’ll be evaluated and what criteria they should pay attention to. For example, are you going to look at their opening intro? Are you going to closely monitor their empathy levels?

Giving people a heads up means they’re probably going to work a bit harder and when they try, let them try again and again so they can submit their best version. If somebody does a good job in a practice scenario, get it back into the learning and show it off to the entire team as a great example—just ask for permission first. When other reps see a peer do something very well, it’s incredibly motivating. Josh, I’d love to get your feedback on how you think about practice.

Josh: For contact center leadership, you may experience downtime on occasion where you’d like to plug in some productive ongoing learning to fill the gaps. That’s just operations 101.

But, there’s an opportunity to operationalize practice sessions using learning libraries or some of the other tools that are in there to make better use of idle time. And like I said, they’re training ideas and strategies are constantly discussed and evolving, but practice is one that is generating a lot of buzz for us and is important to ongoing learning.

Practice what matters with Lessonly

People who practice their skills get better results. Teams at work are no different. Teams like U.S. Cellular that enable employees to hone their skills increase rep confidence and deliver better customer experiences. Catch the last part of this series, Perform, next week. Or, watch a demo of Lessonly today.

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