Good news travels fast but bad news travels faster. If you receive a good service, there are chances that you would tell one or two people about it and refer them to that company that offered you the service but in a situation where you receive bad service instead, you would be so aggrieved about it that you would tell more than 10 people about it.

People place a lot of premium on the way they are treated as customers. Customers usually have high expectations their service providers and are often disappointed when these expectations are not met. You must ensure that you provide the best customer service support that you can because one customer is worth more than a hundred customers.

A customer that is bitter and unhappy might prevent other people from buying your products. On E-bay, you would find practical examples of these. You would see some sellers who used to do well but are now doing poorly as a result of bad reviews by customers who have had bad experiences with them.

Customer service representatives are very important to the existence and success of our businesses and we must ensure that we give them adequate training and help them to improve their skills. Here are 10 tips to help improve customer service skills-:

10 Powerful Tips for Improving Customer Service Skills

1. Know your customers need-: The more you understand your customers’ needs and expectations, the better knowledge you would have to position your customer care officers to serve them better.

2. Customer feedback is very important-: Always encourage customer feedback. You may not know how well your customer service professionals are performing but your customers who are in direct contact with them would know and would be able to help you figure out what should be improved.

3. Train your customer service professionals-: You would need to invest in training for your customer service professionals so that they can understand all aspects of your business and develop their customer service skills.

4. Set your standards and make it clear-: Make sure that your standards of service are spelt out correctly and your customer service officers understand what you expect from them.

5. Reward outstanding performances-: You should also ensure that you encourage top performers by recognizing and rewarding them; this would encourage others to perform excellently too.

6. Record and address all errors and complaints-: Ensure that every complaint is duly investigated and take steps to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

7. Encourage team culture-: Encourage your customer service professionals to work as a team and help one another to get better at the job.

8. Recruit experienced and qualified staff-: It is also important that you employ people who have enough skills and experience to do an excellent job.

9. Set regular objectives to be met-: Another way to help your customer service professionals to improve is by setting regular objectives to be met and rewarding staff when objectives are met.

10. Perform staff performance reviews-: You should also review each staff individually to determine their strengths, weaknesses and ways that they can improve.

How to Develop a Customer Service Training Program That Works

First, you have to look into all the challenges you have faced with your customer service officers or the recent complaints you have received from customers. Then come up with some practical exercises that would help your customer care representatives recognize and develop the skills which they need to improve.

You should also consider involving other department heads and staff in developing training programs for them since the customer care department serves the whole of the organization and their actions are most definitely going to have an effect on the performance of other departments. You should also make sure you measure the performances and improvements after the training.

Below are 10 different training exercises that you would find useful for helping your staff improve their customer service skills:

10 Training Exercises to Help Employees Improve Customer Service Skills

a. Separate your customer service officers into two groups and ask them to share their good and bad customer service experiences, and why they think the service was bad. This would help to show them that they are responsible for determining whether a customer would have a good or bad experience and not the customer.

b. Ask them to assume the position of a customer and state the things that they would expect from a customer service professional right from initial contact till the end.

c. Let them review on another’s performance by pairing them up and asking them to serve each other and then rate each other’s performances and suggest what could have been done differently.

d. Ask your customer service staff to observe a competitors customer service maybe by purchasing from them or calling them up for enquiry and then ask them to give some constructive criticisms of what they thought about the competitor’s performance.

e. Ask them to demonstrate practically, how they would deal with an angry or irate customer.

f. Take time to explain more about the company’s products and services to them and allow them ask questions and clarify anything they do not understand. This would help to enhance their product knowledge, so that they can respond to customers enquiry better.

g. Ask other members of staff which are not part of the customer service team to suggest ways which the customer service team can improve.

h. Hand out a paper to them and ask them to write down the top 10 challenges they experience in carrying out their duties daily. This would give you a clear insight on some of the things that may be hindering their effectiveness and how you can eliminate or improve these things.

i. Ask each of them to stand in front of the others and spend 5 minutes informing the group about the company’s products and services. This would help to build communication skills and boost confidence.

j. Lastly, you should encourage playing some games that would build interpersonal relationships and encourage team playing skills.