Owen McGab Enaohwo November 25th, 2020

8 Smart Ways to Onboard Customer Service Employees

The biggest onboarding mistake you can make as an employer is to fail to prepare for your new hires before they arrive. 

This disorganized onboarding process leaves a bad taste of your company’s perception and indicates that you don’t value your new employees.

In this post, I will show you eight smart ways to onboard customer service employees so that you can consistently grow your market revenue by four to eight percent, as reported by Bain & Company.

Source: Bain & Company

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, you must first understand why you need to onboard your new customer service employees.

Why You Must Onboard Customer Service Employees

A Microsoft Survey, shows that about 56% of consumers globally have stopped doing business with a brand due to poor customer service. 

What this means is that irrespective of the industry you operate in, having responsive and responsible customer service is important. So preparing your employees in that regard is healthy for your business. 

You must onboard your customer service employees so they: 

1. Know about your product/service 

Customer support employees must know what comprises your product and services, and be able to explain it in simple terms. 

They should be good at troubleshooting popular support issues and resolve requests on their own. That way, they don’t misinform or come unqualified to your customers.

2. Interact professionally with customers

Some customer service employees are smart but they lack the simple composure and decorum to interact with customers. 

Ensure that your new hire understands the best practices of communicating with clients on different channels. They should also have empathy and a tone that represents your brand effectively.  

3. Understand your support workflow 

If your customer service employee doesn’t know how to handle specific issues, it may escalate to a bigger problem and send the customer away. 

Knowing how the support workflow, triaging process, and the company’s guiding policy could save your company from potential lawsuits and bankruptcy.

4. Know the importance of consistency 

When a customer service employee is consistent with his approach and tone, customers feel comfortable to open up to them.

Ensure that your customer service team gives similar responses to similar problems. 

This will help you understand that your customers are satisfied and are getting good ratings and responses to any questions they have raised.

5.Know the importance of responsiveness 

The speed and quality at which your customer service employee responds to the customers are important. It will show that your company is quick to help its customers. 

Even if the responses are not readily available, giving the customer a feeling that you’re always there at their service is healthy for customer loyalty. 

No customer will wait seven days for an email response; the customer will be frustrated and might unsubscribe from your service. Being responsive via email, phone, and across all social media channels is what every business needs.

Customer service employees who understand these needs are the ones who earn stronger customer loyalty, turn them into promoters with lifetime value, and save the company’s resources.

What Should New Customer Service Employees Learn?

With a clear understanding of the customer service lifecycle, knowing the product and how to communicate it, and minding customers’ emotions, your customer service employee should also learn technical skills.

They should be able to effectively solve technical problems by being acquainted with technical skills like data analysis, social media experience, coding and programming, project management, and technical writing.

The customer service employee should understand the functionalities of help desk software and ticketing systems, all-in-one inbox for multi-channel support, and self-service knowledge base. 

They should also be able to share an in-box to help the team collaborate and solve requests, self-serve support to let customers solve product issues on their terms, and be able to organize tickets to assign conversations to specific reps manually and/or automatically.

What Happens When Your Customer Service Employees are Efficient

When your customer service is top-notch, your business grows in people, practice, and revenue. You’ll get:

1. More customers 

By satisfying existing customers, you indirectly bring in more. This is because satisfied customers are likely to share their experiences with friends and families. That way, you increase the number of people who buy from you. 

This excellent word of mouth can be turned into great reviews on social media, review websites, and testimonials on your website. 

Leveraging this will help you build an impactful online presence, position your company as a thought leader in the industry, and reach more potential customers. 

2. Increased revenue 

More customers equal more revenue for your company. You’ll experience a boost in sales, and have enough for product innovation, marketing, improved technology, hire more experienced employees, and scale your organization.

3. Improved workplace 

When the company becomes profitable due to better customer experience, increased sales and better practices, the workplace environment becomes calm for employees to focus on individual tasks. 

Ready to Onboard Customer Service Employees? Here are 8 Smart Ways to Do So

Now that you know why you must onboard your customer service employees, what they should learn, and what you stand to gain if they are efficient, let’s head right into the eight smart ways to onboard customer service employees.

1. Start with a simple overview of your business

Before you begin to onboard new employees, start by highlighting the simple overview of your organization. This will involve the values, mission, practices and policies that your brand represents.

This understanding clarifies your customers’ assumptions and redirects your team’s vision of the organization. Because your customer service directly represents the company, they should be empowered to communicate your brand in the best language.

As a part of this process, visionary leaders help their new hires to intercept the organizational values with their drive, so that they can be confident in developing their careers, actualizing the company’s purpose, and they’ll be more encouraged to communicate the brand purpose.

By doing this, your customers will be familiar with your brand and they’ll be loyal to uphold your company standards and values.

2. Create a knowledge base

Employee training is good, but topping up employee knowledge is better. You may not realize this until a knowledge base solves a problem that takes ages. 

A standard knowledge base software will include your company’s guiding principles, success metrics, best practices, how payroll works, tips to answer customer questions quickly, and every knowledge to help them thrive in your workplace. 

It is a must for every customer service process. This is because it entrusts the new customer service employee with an array of information about the customers and products, and enhances a smoother customer experience.

So, create a detailed knowledge base that allows your new hires to keep up with product/service updates and codify their tasks. You can be creative with it by including information details by department and job role. 

A report by Gartner says that by improving the availability of contextual knowledge to employees and customers, organizations can reduce the time it takes to resolve a problem by twenty to eighty percent. 

3. Create a customer success employee playbook

A customer success playbook encompasses how your employees’ and customers’ interact for a successful experience.

It should be a unique guide that accommodates how your new hires will orientate your customers based on their segmentation. It should also include your company’s standard operating procedures and customer journey milestones.

For instance, if you create a separate playbook for each discrete and logical customer segment, you’ll achieve a high customer satisfaction rate by solving customers’ problems.

That way, your new customer service employee will properly understand what your brand represents and will be able to help customers achieve their personal or business goals.

4. Set attainable goals

Expecting your new customer service employee to attend to a certain number of customers daily might not be feasible. Don’t draw them too thin. Instead set realistic and attainable goals to put them on the right track. 

For instance, a customer service employee might encounter a blocker client who needs a re-explanation on an issue, or a caller asking questions which the customer agent cannot answer. These two situations will require more than the expected time, so using the number of daily calls as KPIs for a customer service employee might seem unattainable.

The right approach is to ensure that your goal is written and explained in advance so your new hires know what to do. This way, they will be satisfied and encouraged to feel success at every milestone.

Examining and identifying likely challenges and the impact these challenges have on the work a customer service employee does is critical for goal setting.

5. Organize a robust training program

If you need your new hires to learn quickly and have smoother working experience, organize robust training to help them learn. This will prevent customers from being switched between reps due to lack of knowledge of the problem. 

The robust training program should have a section where experienced support team members share their most common requirements and train new hires on how to handle similar situations.

Before the onboarding, you should also document the detailed experience of your customer service team members and use it to train the new hire. 

Ask them to share their most compelling messages and campaigns, difficult and exciting requests and how they troubleshoot and help the customer. 

This way, they are likely to mention each of your products and state what they do, and new hires can learn and get clarification by asking questions. 

6. Develop a feedback channel

Develop an effective onboarding activity by getting feedback to understand how your new hire responds and learn how to better their learning experience. 

This listening culture could be adopted via e-mail communication, or other feedback platforms like Slack, Basecamp, Trello or Asana. E-mail is one of the easiest support channels for organizations to interact and gather feedback, and it’s free to key into.

With it you can have a transparent engagement and make an employee become a part of a wider ecosystem of idea sharing and reputation building. This will remove the attitude of working in silos, and improve customer experience through employee collaboration.

By incorporating feedback from new customer service employees, companies can create a nimble and agile process, innovate better products and achieve customer overall success.

7. Initiate customer/stakeholder interaction

The communication between the new customer service employee and their team leader is important in the onboarding journey. 

This will help you build trust in the sight of your customers because when a new employee doesn’t know or missed an update, he’s likely to cover up and say something else to the customer. That would cause mistrust if the customer found that it’s untrue. 

This interaction should start immediately so that new customer service employees don’t become wary when they need help responding to complex questions.

The employee onboarding process becomes effective when new hires continue learning as they grow into their role.

8. Study customer satisfaction rate

When your new customer service employee begins to support customers by handling live tickets and interacting in real-time, you should monitor the feedback the customers provide to know where they can improve.

This support ticket comments, call recordings, and satisfaction ratings can be reviewed by the team lead or experienced team member. 

By consistently monitoring this activity, new hires will become experienced in no time. Next, you can introduce a shadow process where new hires watch experienced team members as they respond to dissatisfied customers. 

Conclusion

Replacing employees is expensive so being proactive in getting the best possible value from new employees will benefit your company.  

Onboard your employees by creating a knowledge base. Then set attainable goals and organize training programs for them. Crown the process by starting with a simple overview of your business., initiating customer-employee interaction, and monitoring customer satisfaction rate.

This way, you will be able to guide new customer service employees into high-performance individuals and gradually help them understand what you expect from them.


Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash

Owen McGab Enaohwo

Owen McGab Enaohwo is the CEO and Co-Founder of SweetProcess; an easy-to-use and intuitive business process management software founded in 2013 that makes it possible for company executives and their employees to collaborate together to quickly document standard operating procedures, processes, and policies.

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