ATD 2019 – Are You Ready to Take Action?

Where can you meet Oprah AND Unboxed in person? Only at the world’s largest talent development conference, of course! The ATD 2019 Conference is fast approaching, and we’re excited to join L&D professionals from across the country. Come say hello to us at Booth #1425!

Starting with the End in Mind

Once the conference is over, the question becomes, how do you take your new learnings and opportunities and really make an impact back at the office?

Consider this: without reinforcement, 50% of information is forgotten within one hour and 90% is forgotten within a week. It seems disappointing that you might walk away with only 10% of the inspiring content you hear at ATD.

If you keep that thought going, of that 10% of information that you remember from ATD, how much of that are you going to use to implement change for your learners? How much of what you implement will learners retain? And the million-dollar question, how much of what learners get trained on will impact their performance and ultimately your company’s bottom line?

Well, enough of that glass is half empty stuff! There is hope and you’ll be amazed at how easy it can be to implement the change your company needs.

The answer is simple and yet overlooked: Action-oriented learning. It’s the transfer of knowledge and ideas into real, on-the-job, actions that translate into better performing employees. Learning should never be a one-time, static event. Following the intake of new information, a learner should immediately have an action or a way to put into practice what was just learned in order to reinforce and retain that information. While this is not a brand-new idea or concept, it is difficult to put into practice for a variety of reasons including lack of buy-in, funding, or time.

Our goal for the ATD 2019 conference and training in general, for that matter, is for you and your learners to take meaningful action that will positively impact behaviors and your company’s goals.

 

Hear from Leaders at LinkedIn and Hilton

Any learning philosophy is only as good as its results. We’ll be featuring our work with L&D leaders from LinkedIn and Hilton, and the success they’ve had with action-oriented experiences to engage and challenge modern learners while driving large-scale change.

Join unboxed’s panel discussion on principles of the modern learner on sunday, may 19th from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET

Email hello@unboxedtechnology.com if you’d like us to save you a seat!

 

Experience a One-of-a-Kind AR Demo

We also can’t forget to mention our Booth #1425. Stop by during the expo hours to experience some of the ways we’re using AR in training today. You can also meet some friendly Unboxed team members and pick up some “action-oriented” swag.

ATD 2019 brian leach

Don’t Miss Out on All the Action

Lastly, if you haven’t yet registered, you can do that here.

Already registered? Add us to your conference agenda and be sure to come say hi to us at Booth #1425.

Whether you’re attending or not, join the conversation on Twitter by following @unboxedtech and make sure to tag us using the official conference hashtag #atd2019.

 

See you in D.C.!

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Want the Best Customer Service Training? Modify it for Modern Customers

Technology has changed how people shop and what they expect from customer service representatives. Unfortunately, most customer service training hasn’t kept pace with the rate of technology and customer expectations. If you want to deliver the best customer service training, you must modernize it to meet the needs of the modern customer.

Best Customer Service Training - FAQs

Who Is the Modern Customer?

According to Salesforce, “Shoppers are doing their homework ahead of time (and across multiple emerging channels), making them more knowledgeable and empowered than ever before.”

Modern customers also prefer to troubleshoot on their own using FAQs pages and knowledge bases if they run into any problems. The Center for Generational Kinetics found that “Over 65% of all Americans say that they feel good about themselves and the company when they can solve a problem without talking to customer service.”

This means if a customer does contact customer service through the many channels available to them – live chat, social media, email, phone, etc. – they probably have a complex issue and have already searched your site for an answer.

“. . .The kinds of calls that go to a live agent are reserved for those complicated or urgent issues that are not handled by self-service.” -Shai Berger, CEO of Fonolo

What does this mean for your training?

To have the best customer service training, you have to equip your reps to meet the needs of today’s customers. Customer service teams need to be able to rapidly address issues that are more complex for customers who are more knowledgeable.

So, where do you start? Consider these four best practices when modernizing your customer service training.

1. Train on addressing complex issues quickly

Chances are, if the customer has already tried to solve their problem themselves, they’re ready for the solution—fast.Think about some of the complex issues your company is receiving from customers, and work with customer service representatives to turn long, detailed responses into short, solution-centered ones.

2. Train for personalization

Customers communicate across multiple channels and expect CSRs to know who they are regardless of the channel they’re using.Train representatives to review the customer’s communication history before responding to an issue. If the customer has already reached out about the same issue, review when the customer last contacted your company and through what channel. Work with representatives to personalize their service with this in mind.

3. Train on your company’s knowledge base

Train representatives to not only be knowledgeable about your products and services, but your company’s knowledge base as well.Customer service representatives should be able to speak to the product, but also guide customers toward the most helpful self-service site or knowledge base, if that is the customer’s preference.

4. Train for active listening

If a customer has attempted to solve an issue on their own, they will likely reference actions they’ve taken to solve their problem.Customer service representatives need to be able to hear everything the first time to create a quick, effective solution for the customer. Practice active listening with representatives to ensure they hear everything the first time, so they can quickly lead customers to the perfect solution.

The Best Customer Service Training Increases Revenue

To deliver the best customer service training, you have to equip your CSRs to handle the expectations of today’s consumer. This change in your training can result in a better customer experience which can lead to a greater return on investment and increased customer retention.

According to the Temkin Group, “A moderate increase in customer experience generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues.”

At Unboxed Training and Technology, we provide modern training solutions that get results. We would love to partner with you to create an engaging and personalized customer service training program! Contact us to learn more.

A Customer Service Skills Training Plan That Pays Off

Your customer service team is the face of your company. Every day, every single agent impacts how your customers perceive your brand. One unpleasant interaction – or one issue that doesn’t get resolved – and the bottom can start to fall out of your bottom line. But you can prevent that from happening with a strong customer service skills training program.

Numbers Never Lie

Studies show that consumers who have a bad service experience are more likely to post, Tweet, text, and tell their friends about it than those who have a positive experience.

A look at the numbers might keep you up at night:

Customer Service Skills Training Statistics

Great customer service means more than a pleasant greeting when your reps begin a call or spot a customer (although that’s certainly part of it). It focuses on carefully listening to your customers’ wants and needs, then attending to them as if they were you own.

The good news is that, once you know where to start, investing in even a basic customer service skills training program pays off by building a fiercely loyal customer base.

So, what customer service skills should employees be trained in?

OK – You know you need a customer service skills training program, but where do you start? In order to build a complete program, make sure to focus on both “soft” and “hard” skills. Let’s start with the soft skills.

Soft Skills

Customer Service Skills Training - Company Vision

Company Vision

This is the guiding principle for everything that follows. That’s why we’re putting it first.

As an experienced Learning and Development leader, you know your company’s vision and values backwards and forwards. But do your customer service reps?

Every good customer service skills training program begins with a thorough look at the company’s mission. Make sure your agents can recite your organization’s guiding principles in their sleep and that they use them as a compass for all of their interactions with customers. CSRs need to live these values so that they can apply them to every conversation with every customer.

Remember, this goes beyond business and compliance policies. Train reps on your company’s culture and how your firm wants to present itself to the public so that the messaging matches your brand’s image.

Making sure that every customer service agent knows your company’s vision and values will give you a consistent voice in dealing with customers and their service issues. Find the right balance of professionalism and personality, but know your audience. If your company is young and playful, feel free to use a bit of humor (when appropriate) with customers. On the other hand, if your company is more traditional, keep it formal.

Customer Service Skills Training - Communication Skills

Communication Skills

In addition to teaching customer service representatives your voice, make sure to train them on the basics of communication and effective conflict resolution. Things are going to get stressful at times, so make sure they know how to handle it by incorporating these types of scenarios into your training programs.

Don’t forget – communication isn’t just speaking. It’s also practicing active listening both in-person and over the phone. Make sure you train your CSRs on that too.

Customer Service Skills Training - Problem Solving and AdaptabilityProblem Solving and Adaptability

Solutions to customer service issues are rarely straightforward and seldom the same in every case. Make sure you train your employees on the intent of your policies and not just the wording of them. That way, they can come up with creative solutions to customer service issues on the fly. Then, reps can adapt and apply those principles as they deal with the different sorts of problems that arise.

customer service skills training - empathy

Empathy

Your customer service reps need to be able to put themselves into the customer’s shoes. This might seem like the simplest idea of all (after all, who among us has never been a dissatisfied customer?) but it’s also one of the most crucial.

It can be difficult to deal with an upset customer or fulfill a seemingly ridiculous request. But as long as your agents are trained to show that they understand the customers’ situations and are ready to help, they can often find solutions that benefit both the customer and your company.

Part of this is having a thick skin. Make sure your reps know to shake it off and not take it personally when they’re on the receiving end of a customer’s rant.

The Hard Skills

“Hard skills” don’t just mean training for IT and tech support roles. Every customer service job needs some sort of technical skills training.

We’re talking about things like record keeping and other “nuts and bolts” types of skills. Having good practices in these areas help your company build data and information that allows you to create the best experience possible for your customers, custom tailored to their needs. These customer service skills are just as important as having cheerful reps.

Customer Service Skills Trainining - CRM Database Management

CRM/Database Management

Having and properly using a CRM is critical to building and maintaining a customer base. Every customer’s history (and potential future) is in there, giving your reps powerful information that can make or break your profit margins. If you’re not using the software (or using it to its full potential), you’re missing out.

Most companies offer training on their software. Take advantage of this and also consider designating at least one “super user” to train new hires. You can also explore custom-built systems training solutions from training companies like Unboxed.

Customer Service Skills Training - Data Analysis

Data Analysis

Big data isn’t coming, it’s here and it’s only getting bigger. Train reps so they can understand the information contained in your CRM and apply it to customer interactions. That way, they can make informed decisions that help both the customer and your bottom line.

There are software programs that help create visualizations and flowcharts using that data. Make sure there’s training on them, if it’s appropriate to your firm.

customer service skills training - social media

Social Media

Not just for Millennials and Generation Y, customers of all ages use social media to connect with businesses. Interacting with those consumers presents its own challenges because it takes all the soft skills above and puts them into a virtual environment.

Train CSRs who use social media on best practices, so they don’t end up looking like n00bs. If you choose to use a social media marketing and management tool, make sure reps know how that works as well.

Keep in mind that the tone of an online conversation can be tough to detect. So, while your interactions with customers can be less formal, you want to make sure reps aren’t misunderstood when they are having a virtual conversation instead of a face-to-face one.

How do I create a basic customer service skills training program?

First of all, consider training every single employee in customer service skills, not just those who directly deal with customers. No matter their role, every member of your team needs to understand your company’s values and vision and how their job eventually impacts the customer. And, of course, everyone benefits from improving their communication, problem-solving, and empathy skills. Start this training on day one.

When you do focus on training your customer service representatives, remember that the best ones aren’t born. They’re made. Building a customer service skills training program begins with hiring. Bring people into your organization based on their attitude as much as their aptitude and make it clear what the expectations are.

From there, here is a quick overview of the steps to take:

  1. Structure your training: timeframe, format, who to train, etc.
  2. Share your company vision
  3. Deliver skills training
  4. Provide reps a safe place to practice and apply their new skills
  5. Measure the outcomes and reward outstanding performance
  6. Set up a timetable for refresher training to keep their skills sharp

No matter how you structure your training, make it as engaging as possible. Use a mix of online and instructor-led sessions to keep the learner’s attention. Incorporate games, role-playing and simulated scenarios into your training. Those are the types of things that people tend to remember.

Here are a few customer service training ideas to get you started.

Bringing it all together

Building an effective customer service skills training program isn’t as simple as it may seem. Every company, culture, and person is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But making a serious investment into your customer service training program will pay off for you in the long run. Not only will you gain and retain business, you will save money by having fully-trained employees. Remember: trained employees are happy employees. And happy employees tend to stick around.

At Unboxed Training and Technology, we deliver custom solutions to your training problems. Our customer service training programs make training easier, faster, and more engaging than ever so your reps can tackle any issue that arises. Give us a shout to find out how we can help.

3 Customer Service Training Ideas That Are Engaging and Effective

There’s a lot to consider when creating an effective eLearning course. Which platform do you want to use to build it? Does it need to be mobile responsive? What type of interactivity do you need? Do you need eLearning voice over? The list goes on and on.

When it comes to deciding if you should use eLearning voice over, consider what are the goals you want to achieve and if audio will enhance the learning experience. Voice over is an important element that can help your training feel inclusive and boost engagement and retention.

When you’re ready to think over whether or not you need voice over in your eLearning, consider the following.

 

Think About Accessibility

Arguably the most important piece of the puzzle is whether or not your training needs to be accessible.  If accessibility is a consideration, eLearning voice over is a must. Consider this, roughly 19 percent of the U.S. population has a disability according to the U.S. Census Bureau – that’s nearly 1 in 5 people.

That means, when you consider your workforce, you’ll want to take special care when developing your training to make sure it’s as effective and inclusive of different learning styles and needs as possible. Having narration or eLearning voice over for learners who have vision loss or dyslexia can help ensure everyone has access to the training in a way that’s best for them. For this audience, the audio is exceptionally important because it could be the primary way they’ll consume the information.

Not just that, it’s also required by law in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Even though this law only applies to U.S. Federal Agencies, it is becoming a standard consideration across the L&D industry. So while creating accessible content entails a lot more than just adding audio, it is an important part of the process and one you can’t ignore.

 

Consider Modern Learning Trends

Today’s average learner consumes more information than ever before, using all sorts of technologies and platforms. (think curated news feeds,  AirPods, Google Assistants, etc.). But what does that mean for training?

Your training needs to cater to how modern learner prefers to consume information.

Consider how many of your friends and colleagues listen to podcasts. How does that compare to the number who read newspapers or watch the news regularly? Chances are, podcasts are way more popular. Why is that?

The landscape is changing. The modern learner is tired of old school methods of consuming information. Instead, they prefer to multi-task and consume information on-the-go. By incorporating eLearning voiceover or narration, you’re catering to those who prefer to consume information by listening.

If you can weave short podcasts or other engaging voice over into your eLearning to help it feel sleek, contemporary, and engaging. Your learners will be able to listen to the training during the morning commute or when they’re driving from site to site. It’ll be more efficient for their schedules, more effective, and much more memorable—and being memorable is how you boost retention.

25 training tips in 25 minutes: best practice

Find out the shared approaches we’ve seen maximize training outcomes for our clients, and how to incorporate them into your training.

Using eLearning Voice Over to Simplify the Complex

The last thing to consider is the complexity of the information you’re teaching. If you’re covering complicated topics or providing detailed directions, using audio can help to simplify and humanize your content.

Think about it. Would you rather read a long drawn-out paragraph about a complicated topic or would you prefer to hear it explained while looking at a visual? Reading long chunks of content is exhausting and the modern learner just isn’t going to do it.

Instead, consider creating a visual to convey part of the information and using voice over as an added layer of detail. It will seem a lot less daunting toy our learners than a big paragraph and we guarantee, if the voice over is written well, it will boost retention.

The more ways you use to convey information, the more likely it is to stick.

Don’t believe us? Read this article about a study where learners were divided into groups: those who watched a silent animation, then heard the narration, those who heard the narration, then watched the animation and those who watched both at the same time. As you can imagine,  the group who did both simultaneously did best.

Is accessibility important in your training? Do you need your training to be easy to access on-the-go? Do you need to convey complex information? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, eLearning voice over is a must.

Need help strategizing or building the training itself? We can help. With over a decade of experience, we can help identify the perfect blend of modalities for your training needs. We even have relationships with professional voiceover artists who can bring your content to life. Give us a call!

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