When we think about the customer support and service team at any company, we think of reps as the point of contact for that brand -- someone who’s always there to communicate with you and help you with your challenges regarding the product. And because of the importance of a seamless communication with customers to address and resolve their issues, it’s clear why this team is such a crucial part of any organization.
Customer support representatives have a strong relationship with the customer -- often times, it’s even stronger than their relationship with their sales rep. They have front row seats to customers’ ongoing needs, goals, and success in using the product or service. They’re perfectly positioned to cross-sell, upsell, and resell to maximize customer lifetime value.
To build and maintain a customer support and service team, there must be a proper training provided to them. If you need a starting point to build a training position for your team, you can refer to this post as an extensive starting point for some of the most valuable free customer service training materials available out there.
How to Train Your Customer Service & Support Teams
Consistently good service and offering proactive help results in a 32% increase in the likelihood for repurchase or product recommendation, according to data from CX Solutions.
Depending upon the extensiveness of the training and vastness of your industry, this training can last anywhere between two and six weeks. There is no benchmark for the duration, so you’ll need to try and see what is giving you the best results.
Usually, there are three major aspects of this training:
- Product Training
- Industry Training
- Skill Training
Let’s dig in deeper at all three aspects and understand how these are done.
Most of the organization have their own product training resources and documentation in the form of blogs, videos, podcasts, in-person trainings, and new hire orientation, which they share with their customer service trainees when they start at the company.
This training will be specific to your brand and to your industry as well. Industry knowledge isn’t something that the trainees can master in just a few weeks -- it’s something they’ll have to keep themselves updated about consistently throughout their career. Getting into a practice of reading expert industry blogs and other resources on a regular basis is a must.
Another thing that’s important to keep a tab on over the course of industry training is competitor analysis. Understanding the value propositions of switching to a competitor will help customer service professionals better handle objections, and providing them with extensive documentation before losing a customer to churn will help them gain in understanding and confidence.
Training your team for customer service skills is the most crucial and most common for any organization. Even if they have a good product and industry knowledge, they can not excel at their work without being trained for the right set of skills.
Below are just a few essential skills are expected of a customer support or service rep:
- Customer relationship building and management
- Clear communication
- Teaching customers
Read our full list of customer support skills to master next.
20 Free Customer Service Training Materials to Share with Your Team
There are tons of free customer service training materials to help you teach these skills to your customer service team. There are blogs, videos, exercises, online courses and much more that you can leverage and build an amazing customer service team. This list is just a starting point to give you an idea of trustworthy outlets and experts to continue learning from throughout your career.
Customer Service & Support Blog Posts
1. Top 10 Things Not to Say to Angry Customers by Helprace
2. 10 'Must-Have' Skills for Being Awesome at Customer Service by Provide Support
3. How to Onboard and Train New Customer Service Reps by Zendesk
4. How to Nurture Customers During the Long Growth Stage by Totango
5. What Five Years as a Janitor Taught Me About Customer Service by Support Driven
6. Want to Be Successful? Solve Your Customers’ Problems by Shep Hyken
When you’re done, read this list for more customer support resources that are applicable to anyone in their career
Customer Service & Support Training Videos
9. Excellent Customer Service Skills by Telephone Doctor
10. What is customer service? The 7 Essentials To Excellent Customer Service by David Brownlee
11. I Was Seduced by Exceptional Customer Service by TEDx
12. Inbound Service Fundamentals by HubSpot Academy
You can watch more customer service training videos found in this blog post.
Customer Service & Support Online Courses
15. Technical Support Fundamentals by Google
Customer Service & Support Training Exercises
16. Customer Service Training: Judging People by Skills Converged
17. Mock Calls
Mock calls are an excellent way to practice doing the job before actually starting the job. Mock calls involve a new rep and an experienced rep taking turns pretending to be the rep and the customer to run through common scenarios and situations reps might encounter when they’re on the job.
18. Personality Testing
Personality testing can be an effective way to identify new employees’ communication, leadership, and conflict management styles to try to get ahead of and manage conflict with customers before it happens.
19. No ‘No’s Allowed
This is another mutual training exercise where team members role-play being the customer and the customer service rep, and they have to practice addressing issues without being allowed to say no. So, for example, if the issue to role play was a request not allowed by a rep’s software, the new employee would have to practice addressing complaints in a way that didn’t shut down the conversation with a ‘no.’
20. Employee Shadowing
There are organizations that focuses more on team collaboration and thus presses on the approach of shadowing other team members and pitch practice for training their team member. As Eric Vandenberg from G2 Crowd explains, “What I find most valuable about trainings is listening to how my peers handle objections and navigate conversations.”
Over the past few years, customer service and support teams have gone through strategic changes and growth to become a valuable company asset. And as you continue to adapt and change your customer support strategies and tactics, remember to stay focused on building a team that’s not just a department, but a culture, too.
To learn more, try out our other customer service training ideas.