21 customer service training ideas to help freshen up your refreshers
If January is a quieter month for you now might the time to address your refresher training, and here are 21 customer service training ideas. Refresher training is important in any area, and customer service is no exception.
Without reminders it’s easy for service to stagnate and standards to slip. Consistency in your service ensures your customers won’t be disappointed on their second, seventh or even 70th visit.
But how can you make this engaging for everyone, especially your long-serving team members who have seen it all before?
Instead of thinking refresher (as some will simply see this as a boring repeat of the same old messages) focus on different aspects of service.
By Creating a culture of continuous improvement, and putting the emphasis on making things even better, it’s less likely to be dismissed as unimportant and repetitive.
Here are a few customer service training ideas to help freshen up your refreshers (or any other training)…
- Challenge your team members to come forward with suggestions on how things can be improved, not just for the customer, but to make their lives easier too. Shaving 5 minutes off a task in one area can free up 5 more minutes to spend caring for customers elsewhere.
- Add variety. Do something different to what people are used to, to make the sessions interesting or memorable, so everyone remembers the messages.
- Stop thinking about training purely as a classroom activity; get creative with your training. Recognise people’s different learning styles and vary the ways you communicate with your team to appeal to different preferences.
- Ask the team what training they think they need and how they’d like to learn it.
- Make learning a part of the day-to-day activity, by using everyday activities as opportunities for development and where it’s second nature for people to help and support one another, and to learn on the job.
- Use short sharp ‘coffee break sessions’ to delve deeper to explore how you can make things even better. What can you do to add more value for your customers and really wow them?
- Assign tasks or projects on real business issues to develop team members.
- Get everyone’s involvement. Avoid the chalk and talk’ lecture, it’s not as if they are hearing this for the first time. Use team exercises to encourage interaction, get opinions, and generate ideas so everyone benefits from each other’s insights and suggestions.
- Use team meetings to direct focus and reinforce messages. Most customer facing roles are ever-changing, and every day there will be specific and individual options, events, and situations.
- Use refreshers as an opportunity to give your team up to date product knowledge.
- Celebrate and share successes. Remind people of the importance and significance of what they do; everyone likes to be appreciated, and when they hear about refresher training they can see this as a criticism, implying they are not doing things well enough.
- Recognise and reward team members who go the extra mile and contribute to exceptional customer service to reinforce what makes a good customer experience.
- Act on customer feedback. Ask for direct feedback from your customers so you learn first-hand what they value and where you can make improvements in your service.
- Share positive customer feedback. It can be a really big boost for the team. Use it to reinforce good practice. Even for those not involved or contributing directly, it helps illustrate the impact of good service and a great customer experience.
- Keep things light hearted when discussing customer service issues; it is a serious subject, but people are more receptive when they are happy and relaxed. Reinforce messages with quizzes and games to add an element of competition and fun.
- Add in fun energiser activities and ‘right brain’ exercises. These might seem trivial, but getting your team involved keeps them energized and in a better state of mind for learning.
- Take people away from their normal environment (as long as this doesn’t make them uncomfortable or become a distraction); go outside, use music; alter the layout, introduce unusual props.
- Skills practice. Everybody hates role plays, but some type of practice in the safety of the training room allows people to experiment with what to say and how in a safe setting. Make these less intimidating by running in small groups with colleagues acting as an observer to give feedback.
- Capitalise on people’s strengths, and utilise those with talents in specific areas to share their skills and expertise with the team. This is not only good for people’s development, it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden.
- Involve your support teams in refresher training, identifying what they do or not do which impacts the customer experience, however minor, and ask for their input on how these can be developed.
- Ask your team for feedback on how you are doing in their eyes. It can feel uncomfortable for people to give feedback to their boss, so ask in a more conversational way such as “What could I be doing to make customer service easier?“. Be sure to accept any feedback with good grace, and thank them for an honest response!
So instead of rolling out the same old training, take one, two or all 21 customer service training ideas to help freshen up your refresher training.
If you need help with this, set up a call with me to discuss your needs