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December 29, 2020 Support

Four Ways to Build Customer Service Enablement

BrainSell Editorial Team
By Brainsell Editorial Team

When you think of customer service enablement, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Whatever you just thought of, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess it wasn’t, “Yes, customer service enablement is my favorite!” That’s likely because not too many folks know about it, and even fewer companies are investing in it, for now.

But here’s what our friends at Lessonly and partners at Zendesk believe: The future of customer service and customer retention relies on support agents who can truly wow customers. These folks are the faces, voices, chat responses, and other-side-of-the-screen leaders who interact 1:1 with customers every day.

As the Disneys, Zappos, and Ritz-Carltons of the world can confirm, those experiences have a profound impact on each customer’s perception of your brand. That’s why customer service enablement and training is needed, and needed now, despite your organization’s size or industry.

Enter these four tips. Whether you have a well-established onboarding and ongoing training program in place, or your team is brand new to customer service enablement, this blog post has something for you. Let’s explore four ways you can start implementing some customer service enablement best practices today.

1. Assess Where You’re At

Great assessments typically start by collecting data from your team and the market to identify successes and challenges and accurately evaluate your team’s training needs. But this is more than just asking questions in passing.

Here are three tips to help you gather the data you need to build out your program:

A. Practice appreciative inquiry

Create surveys with thoughtful questions and host interviews with key trainers and leaders on your team to determine what’s working well for agents right now and what needs some work.

B. Consider the data

As you assess what training is needed, work backward. What metrics does your department own? How could training move the needle on those metrics? What are market leaders doing that you’re not?

C. Talk to your supervisors

The supervisors of the customer service teams you’re enabling and training, especially at enterprise-level organizations, are likely answering similar questions across their teams. Answering the same question over and over again, or escalating the same situation day-after-day, are just two things supervisors will have a pulse on. And two training gaps you’ll be able to fill.

2. Track the Metrics that Make the Most Sense for Your Team

This one feels like a no-brainer, but it’s way harder than it seems. Most customer service leaders are either drowning in data and unable to truly focus on five to six metrics that matter most to their team. Or, they don’t track anything at all because they aren’t quite sure where to start.

Here’s the bottom line about customer service metrics: NPS and CSAT are the non-negotiable things to track. But everything else? Those metrics should be customized to your specific team’s needs.

Ask yourself what matters most at your specific contact center. Speed and efficiency? Or maybe the quality of care and level of personalization? A healthy blend of those two things?

Some of the most popular metrics to keep track of are:

  • Lifetime Value (LTV) of a customer
  • Average Handle Time (AHT)
  • First-Call Resolution (FCR)
  • Customer Efforts Score (CES)
  • Escalations

Identify the areas you’re leading and the areas you’re lagging, and track both of those metrics. This will help your team celebrate wins while improving weaknesses and overall performance.

3. Drive Actual Results with Microlearning

How many times have we sat through day-long training programs, only to walk away thinking, “I’m not sure I’m going to remember any of that”?

The fact of the matter is, we have ever-shortening attention spans. But we’re still curious and eager to learn, so naturally, we crave easily digestible content. That’s why we recommend microlearning. More often than not, this looks like bite-size online lessons or quick, chat-conversation practice exercises in the customer service world. According to Gallup, this is how you build training programs that are more transformational than transactional.

There’s also a secret to making microlearning even more useful: interactivity. Agent confidence skyrockets with small repetitions and refinements of their most common interactions. Thoughtful chat, email, phone, and video practice for an agent is the secret to becoming better at their job every day. The more videos, gifs, knowledge checks, and practice exercises with chat, email, phone interactions, the better. It’s one thing to read about how to do a job well; it’s a whole other to practice it and send it off for feedback. (We’ll talk more about this in the next section.)

One more thing on this one: Tracking how successfully or extensively someone is training with their actual results and customer satisfaction is key. This sheds light on knowledge gaps and areas for coaching and clarifies an agent’s performance.

4. Get Essential Feedback

Feedback is vital to refining your training offerings to ensure reps get what they need to succeed. What does great feedback on training look like, though?

  • Share before you’re ready: Don’t author or create training content in a vacuum, and don’t let perfect become the enemy of good. Effective training should be valuable and focused on the learner. Be prepared to make changes to make sure it’s hitting the mark for them. With Lessonly, you can make changes on the fly very quickly.
  • Let your experts weigh in: The first people who should see new training are your experienced agents who can point out gaps. Figure out who your rockstars are, and then use them in an advisory and editorial capacity. Lean on your high performers and SMEs and ask them to review training. They’ll know better than anyone if it’s relevant, meaningful, and worth rolling out.
  • Make it easy: Encourage your learners to leave feedback early and often once you deploy training. Create a feedback loop, and be mindful and intentional about responding to feedback and incorporating suggested changes. The more learners see that their feedback is being addressed, the more they will share. This creates an endless cycle of improvement, and learners feel just as invested in the content as trainers do.

Conclusion

Investing in your customers starts with investing in your agents. Creating world-class customer service enablement is one of the best plays in the book if you’re working to put your customers first.


 

This post originally appeared on the Zendesk blog.

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