Published On: Thu, May 3rd, 2018

Training A Customer Service Representative

The customer service representative is one of the most important members of your ecommerce organization. These are the people with whom your most valuable assets interact, so they can directly affect your profitability. It’s important to find the right people for the job and train them appropriately. However, prepping a customer service representative (CSR) involves more than just familiarizing them with your products and procedures. You also need to get them up to speed on your company culture to make sure they’re reflective of the image you’ve established.

Here’s how to get it done.

Training Starts Before You Hire

One of the key aspects of training a CSR is knowing the issues they are likely to encounter most often. With this knowledge you can prepare them for the sorts of things they will be expected to handle most often, which will improve their confidence right out of the gate. Your existing team should keep track of the most common questions they get and build a “bible” of solutions based upon them. This way, you can provide new hires with the basics right off the bat and train against them.

Polish Product Knowledge

As an example, let’s say you manufacture and sell your furniture online. In addition to being thoroughly knowledgeable about the construction methods and materials, your CSRs also need to know how long it takes to build pieces and ship them. Having this sort of intimate knowledge positions, them to offer advice, tips and strategies—as well as conduct up sells and add on sales. They can also help customers make comparisons and if someone calls with a less than genuine issue, they’ll be able to recognize that too.

Hone “People” Skills

Reps should have trained to interact on the phone, in live chat and on social media. In almost all cases, the outcome of an encounter will depend upon the attitude adopted by your representative. Teach them to sincerely express empathy, control emotional responses, solve problems, communicate well and take a methodical approach to the work. An oft-overlooked skill upon which to train is writing ability. Spelling and grammatical errors in live chat will tarnish the credibility of your organization and undermine customer trust.

Develop Listening Skills

Without question, the most important aspect of the CSR position, the ability to listen is paramount to their success. Teach them to be quiet and let the customer explain the entire problem before working toward a solution. They should also repeat the issue back to the customer and ask for affirmation before addressing the situation. Your CSRs should also be trained to respond with positive language, avoiding phrases that will irritate a customer, such as “I can’t”, “We don’t” and the like. Even if you have to deny a customer’s request there are ways to do it without sounding negative. Develop scripts for your most common issues and train new CSRs from them.

Assign Multiple Mentors

Rather than giving them a manual to read on Monday and putting them on the phone alone on Tuesday, let them spend time with a variety of seasoned personnel so they can observe different approaches to the rhythm of the job. This will also prevent tribalism and help them find their own best way forward. New hires should take a few calls under the supervision of these mentors toward the end of each day, so they’ll have support if they get stuck.

Properly training a customer service representative is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your business. They will almost always be the only living beings with whom your customer base will come into contact. It pays to make sure your CSRs have the tools they need to put your best foot forward.

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