Guidelines For Training Your Customer Service Staff To Help You Sell
We love to talk about how good customer service training can have a major impact on your bottom line. Here on our blog, we’ve talked about the resulting reduction in costs. When your customer service team is well trained, you get to spend less time solving problems that have escalated because of bad customer service.
That said, a reduction in cost is not the only way that you end up seeing a positive impact to the bottom line!
Great customer service training means that you can increase profits because of better sales! Customer service representatives may not always think of themselves as being in sales, but we help people understand that every interaction between a company and a consumer can lead to, or expand, a sale.
This doesn’t mean that every customer service exchange has to be pushy or “sales-y.” It just means that winning over customers who have questions, concerns, or complaints is a strategy that will lead to more sales in the future!
Let’s break down some key guidelines that you should be covering in your customer service training.
1. Remember that sales and customer service have a lot in common.
When reduced to their most basic definitions, sales and customer service representatives have two very different jobs. And yet there is more overlap than a lot of people realize!
Both salespeople and customer service reps understand the importance of meeting–or even exceeding!–a customer’s expectations. And just like salespeople, customer service reps solve problems, answer questions, make recommendations, and much more. It is important for these reps to understand that each of these things can contribute to sales.
If customer service is bad, it doesn’t really matter what the reason is. Bad customer service loses customers and can lead to a loss of sales. And the opposite is just as true: good customer service means more sales. It means repeat customers. It means brand loyalty!
2. Listen, listen, listen.
If your customer service training doesn’t teach reps how to listen to customers for understanding, it isn’t a good training program.
Listening to customers is about more than just hearing what they say and responding with a scripted answer. It is about active listening, communicating that you are listening, and really understanding someone else’s needs.
It is super important for customers to feel heard, and good training will ensure that is happening at every step of the way.
3. Cultivate empathy for your customers.
If your team views customers as an inconvenience, that attitude is going to drag down your sales. People can tell when they are being treated as a nuisance.
You want to promote the attitude that customers are valuable and important, not just as potential sources of profit, but as human beings.
Empathy is about being able to understand where someone is coming from and feel things from their perspective. Great customer service training will promote an empathetic perspective.
4. Build excellent knowledge of the company’s products and services.
Imagine this situation: a customer ordered a product and received it on time, but they aren’t happy with something about it. They call the company to process a return.
A typical customer service representative would process the return and move on. A great, well-trained rep who knows the company’s catalog inside and out–that person is going to know how to respond to the buyer’s concerns, suggest good replacement options and answer questions about why the new product is going to be better than the first one.
Excellent knowledge of a company’s products and services improves customer service results and increases sales.
5. Anticipate the customer’s needs.
This one takes effort.
Anticipating a customer’s needs can go a long way to keeping them happy and satisfied, but it can take a lot of practice to get it right.
Some of the best ways to anticipate a customer’s needs include:
- Being familiar with customer trends and habits
- Understanding your company’s customer profiles
- Create a process that gives you a lot of information before you engage with the customer one-on-one
- Remember our advice about active listening and empathy
6. When responding to customer concerns, mirror the customer’s behavior.
The technique of mirroring customer behavior can be really useful. When implementing this strategy, what you want to do is mirror certain mannerisms to match the customer’s personality, mood, and demeanor.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean escalating the situation if someone is angry or upset. What it does mean is that you can subtly match certain aspects of most customers’ communication habits in order to help them feel more comfortable.
Our recommendation: Match tone of voice, their words and phrases, their enthusiasm level, and the speed of their speech.
Knowledge Force Consulting can help!
We provide customer service training to improve customer service procedures for businesses of all sizes. You can check out our free eGuide, An Employer’s Guide to Customer Service Training, or contact us with any questions you have.
We look forward to helping!