The past 5 to 10 years have seen an explosive growth in the use of learning management systems in the corporate training world. With the growth of the LMS, the way that customer service training is developed is also changing. Before course management systems were around, all customer service training had to be performed face-to-face. While there are certainly benefits to this method, with the advent of training software companies can potentially use the online learning platforms to perform all of their training at a much lower cost.
With that said, training doesn’t have to be one way or another. For customer service training, a blended approach can maximize the benefits of both types of training.
When things go wrong with a product, customer service representatives are going to be the face of the company, so it’s important that they get their jobs right. Though training is crucial, there’s a high turn-over rate, making customer service training an expensive piece of the puzzle. Using a combination of live training and training software can help to maximize the learning experience while keeping the costs down.
First, there can be an initial face-to-face class that might last a few hours or a few days, depending on how complex the product line is. This class is important because it will set the tone for what is expected of the representative. It will also help to develop a relationship between the trainer or manager with the new employee, and this is something that no training software can accomplish.
A learning management system can then be used to enforce and test the initial concepts as taught through the traditional course. An online learning platform can host a course that contains videos highlighting the main concepts. Videos served through the online course platform can be used to present mock situations. Then an assessment module can be developed to see if the customer service representative understands the best ways to react in those situations.
Videos can also be created which show ineffective ways of providing customer service. For example, using open ended questions through a survey module in your LMS, the trainees can reflect on why they think the customer service representatives in the videos didn’t handle a situation effectively.
For those who don’t do well in the course, a live follow-up session can be conducted by a more senior customer service representative. Perhaps it will be determined that the employee is not cut out for that position. Or maybe the employee just needs more time with the material.
After taking the online course, the trainee will be ready for the next step. Mock situations can be created and then acted out by more senior customer service representatives. This will give the trainee additional practice and feedback before he or she is ready to talk with actual customers. Assuming that these mock situations are successful, the trainee is ready to go out into the field for the final test: a live customer.
Once a part of the customer service team, a learning management system can be useful in the continuing education aspect of customer service. New products will be introduced, which will require new knowledge on the part of the customer service representative. In this area, the LMS really shines as a resource. Documentation for the new products and short courses for the new products can cut down on the amount of time and effort that goes into the continuing education piece.
Customer service training should not be minimized. Representatives must be trained to educate potential customers, as well as help current customers. A blended approach can maximize the benefits reaped by both live and online learning.