Are great customer service representatives born or made? Valet thinks some are indeed born with a natural flair for helping solve the problems of others. All the rest become great as a result of great customer service training, the WordPress website wellness company says.
And great customer service training is something in which Valet takes much pride.
Do you remember Eric Dye? You met him earlier in the course of this series of posts on customer service excellence. He’s in charge of customer service at Valet. Eric will now reveal for you the secret of how to train people to be top-notch client support reps.
“If you want great customer service people, the training they receive must focus on teaching them to be excellent communicators,” he says.
According to Eric, excellent communication begins and ends with the customer service rep’s ability to listen.
“Some people—but not the majority–have a knack for listening,” he says. “The good news is that most people who are not naturally good listeners can be taught to be.”
Great Customer Service Training Techniques
A variety of theories exist as to how best to develop listening skills in customer service people. Some involve putting trainees in a classroom and delivering a lecture on the subject.
Or, perhaps, delivering a lecture plus a slide presentation.
Valet customer service trainees receive some of that.
But all of that is just to give them a foundation.
Mainly, though, they receive hands-on instruction.
“Requests from Valet clients for help are put onto tickets, and what we do to train our newly hired customer service people is give them a ticket to work on,” says Eric.
Not exactly a baptism of fire, he assures. “The ticket we give the trainee is for an easy customer service problem. A real softball.”
Also, the ticket comes from a help request that arrived via email. That means the trainee answers it the same way—by email.
“We ask the trainee to take the action or actions necessary to satisfy the client’s request,” Eric explains. “Then we have the trainee draft a reply, telling the client what actions were taken and stating the results of those actions.
“But in some instances action cannot happen until more information about the problem is obtained. So here the trainee must write back to the client and request further details.
“In all situations, we look to see how the trainee communicates with the client. We look for clarity of communication. We look for its level of detail. A friendly tone—does it have that? Is the tone respectful and not inappropriately chummy or overly familiar?”
Then, after drafting the reply, it goes to a Valet customer service supervisor who reviews and evaluates it.
“The supervisor points out any weaknesses or shortcomings in the reply and offers suggestions for improving it,” says Eric.
Natural, Honest Conversations
As part of Valet’s great customer service training, novices learn that the email reply counts as a conversation starter.
“Putting questions in the email reply opens the door for a dialogue,” Eric reveals. “We train our people to ask questions, to probe beneath the surface.
“Usually, there’s more than meets the eye in a client request for help—some underlying issue going on. Perhaps the client knows about the underlying issue. More likely the client doesn’t. Therefore, we always try to identify and address underlying issues.”
Eric says this habit of looking for underlying issues proves invaluable for two reasons.
First, it helps prevent today’s problem from occurring again down the road.
Second, clients very much appreciate knowing that Valet looks after their interests.
Notably, Valet customer service representatives do not use scripts in their communications with clients.
“No templates, no pre-baked conversations,” Eric assures. “The dialogue between us and our clients is live, natural, and honest.”
Non-scripted communications rule at Valet because the company insists its front-line faces not lose their individualistic voices.
“Our customer service people represent the unique culture of Valet, “says Eric. “But that culture consists of many different personalities. In other words, we want the personality of each customer service representative woven into the conversation with our clients.”
Flexibility a Must
And one other thing Valet teaches as part of its great customer service training: no becoming set in your ways.
“We think it very important for providers of customer service to stay flexible in their thinking,” says Eric. “The world changes constantly. The technology we use to interact with clients changes just as often. Same with the clients’ needs and expectations.
“As a result, customer service representatives must always stand ready to acquire new skills, learn fresh approaches.
“But to do that takes a willingness to occasionally look inward and challenge yourself. Complacency is the enemy. Always try to find opportunities to stay on the cutting edge. This is what we teach our people.”
Want to see Valet’s great customer service training play out in real-time? Then become a Valet client today. Outstanding customer service is only one of many reasons why you should make Valet your go-to resource for optimizing your WordPress website and keeping it performing at its best always. Please drop a line to Valet and get a conversation going.