Keeping customers happy and satisfied is integral to the success of any business. Customer service training is an essential tool for any employee who works in a service industry. There are different methods available for customer service training, each with its own pros and cons. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each will assist you in choosing the best method for your employees.
Companies with an abundant need for customer service training may choose to hire a staff of trainers to perform in-house training. In-house trainers can customize training modules to accommodate the immediate needs of the company, such as training for new hires or refresher classes to address issues that arise. The disadvantages to in-house training are the costs associated with employing full time trainers. There is also an opportunity for training to become stale unless methods and materials are updated on a regular basis.
Professional training, as opposed to in-house, utilizes third-party companies to train staff. Employees may be more prone to accept training ideas from someone other than a coworker. Outside training can also be performed off-site which allows employees to focus on the task at hand without distractions. It can be costly to hire an outside training firm, but some may offer volume discounts. However, if a number of employees are sent for training at one time, arrangements must be made to cover the workload while the staff is out of the office.
Customer service seminars are a good alternative for training employees. There are many professional organizations that offer training seminars around the country, usually at local hotels or convention centers. The disadvantage is that employees can only receive training when the seminars are scheduled for your area. The training is also generic, not tailored for your particular organization. Some companies that offer seminars may provide customized training at your location if you enroll a minimum number of employees in the program.
Customer service training videos are available for purchase. Industry organizations often make videos available for members, so the subject matter is industry-specific. This is a cost-effective way to offer employee training because one set of videos can be used for any number of employees. The disadvantage to videos is the material eventually becomes outdated and needs to be updated. Video training offers scheduling convenience, but no employee interaction.
Classroom education allows for interactive customer service training. A student has the opportunity to ask questions and join in discussions. The classroom is the perfect environment to introduce role-playing activities, an extremely effective training method for customer service employees. Instructors can provide personal feedback and monitor student progress.
Online customer service training offers convenience because employees can access the training modules at any time. This allows the business to stagger employee hours away from regular work duties. The disadvantage to online training is that it is impersonal and may not allow the opportunity for questions unless it is interactive or monitored. It is a good training tool for an employee who likes to work at his own pace. However, it may not be effective for an employee who is not self-disciplined and who easily loses focus.