Create a training plan that helps customer service representatives succeed

IMG_6914Front-line customer service representatives impact our everyday lives. Whether we are returning sour milk to the local supermarket or our new car with only 6,000 miles has been in the repair shop more than it has been on the road, representatives who deal with the public are significantly important to each organization. Why then, are service people often treated as among the lowest paid in many organizations? After all, business owners and senior management need customer representatives to make a positive impact on “social media-savvy customers.”

Customer service representatives often bear the brunt of a customer’s anger; therefore it’s mandatory to hire agents with excellent dispositions so they are able to maintain the helpful attitude needed to resolve problems. We want our agents to show genuine interest and concern when helping customers and clients, and take the initiative to solve problems; not just turn the problem over to another department. We want an experienced customer service agent to “own the problem,” and thus convey to the customer they have the capability and responsibility to see the task through for a satisfactory resolution.

Unfortunately there is no magical solution to prepare agents to be exemplary at their professions. Organizations that help their employees succeed don’t judge their agents by how quickly they get people off the phone or the number of calls they handle within an eight-hour shift. Here are some suggestions an organization might consider:

  • Have a training program that helps customer representatives deal with people. Help new agents incorporate people skills with their technical knowledge.
  • Be watchful of social media, however Twitter isn’t really the way to solve customer service issues. Of course, it can have an immediate detrimental effect on an organization, and customer service agents need to be familiar with customer engagement so as to neutralize negative publicity, and contact the customer to resolve the situation in an appropriate manner.
  • Give customer service personnel the authority and training to resolve conflicts. Praise jobs well-done and new initiatives that were successful. Use positive experiences to help other professionals learn.
  • Employ personnel who genuinely like their jobs and who want to progress in their careers.
  • Offer competitive pay packages and compensation plans to attract the best candidates. You do get what you pay for.

photo credit: CUS Visual Media Team