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How Can Effective Customer Service Training Help You Avoid the Next Disaster?

Effective Training - MindTickle

Comcast and GoDaddy have been in the news recently, and for all the wrong reasons!

Former Engadget editor (and now former Comcast customer) Ryan Block released a recording of a Comcast customer service call that could have gone a lot better. In an 8 minute call, a Comcast representative proceeded to do everything that a customer service representative should NOT do.

Not to be outdone, GoDaddy played an important role in letting hackers extort a $50,000 twitter username, @n, from Naoki Hiroshima. In this case, the attackers first gained access to the last 4 digits of Naoki’s credit card number from PayPal and then used that to socially engineer and convince GoDaddy employees to change EVERY single identifying information.

While Comcast and GoDaddy should consider investing in better hiring processes and better customer service incentives, agile training is an absolute requirement to prevent such occurrences in the future. Agile training practices could have helped GoDaddy and Comcast avoid the PR nightmare!

What is the Agile Approach to Training Practices?

If you think that your organization is not a 2.0 business, think again! Over the last couple of years, even brick and mortar businesses have evolved beyond the simple website, and managing a business Twitter account or Facebook page is fast becoming a cost of doing business.

Moreover, businesses have become much more dynamic; they are constantly responding to internal and external drivers of change. Such a fast-changing environment requires every department to be on their toes and implement well-defined practices for keeping employees knowledgeable.

To appreciate how the misalignment of “training” development and delivery capability of an organization can stymie the pace of an innovative organization, here’s a quote from the leader of one of the fastest growing telecom and media firms:

“I have adopted agile product development practices over the last three years and shortened the release cycles of new features and bug fixes to customer set-top-boxes down to two weeks, but my training department tells me that they cannot produce any new training module for my sales, support, and operations staff in less than four weeks!”

Having an agile training program makes it possible to stay ahead of this dynamic environment with a process for your team to address any changing business requirements with effective training as soon as possible. Agile training keeps in mind that your business goals are a moving target. For businesses that want to maximize customer service efficiency and customer satisfaction with a system that can be maintained independent of specific people, agile training is the way to invest.

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How to Implement the Agile Approach to Training Practices

One does not require a complex framework to implement the “agile” concept. In principle, an agile approach is one that aligns with the business context. Before getting started, it is important to first understand the drivers of change to decide what kind of training practices would align best with your business needs.

Next, follow these steps:

  1. Each department should take charge of developing and delivering training to their staff.  The shared services model works well for compliance and human resources related training, BUT product, customer-service, and sales training are best managed by their respective departments.
  2. Leverage self-serve online platforms for creating, delivering, and tracking the learning programs; flip the classroom (Sal Khan style) and use in-person sessions to help answer questions and supplement the online training through discussions, exercises, and simulations. For example, Comcast and GoDaddy could reinforce the training by highlighting the actions of their most successful customer service reps and showcasing the actions that make top representatives successful.
  3. Track, measure, and iterate. Leverage the power of analytics to make learning and the currency of knowledge a measurable KPI.

Get Inspired for Agile Training With These Stellar Customer Service Examples:

1. JetBlue’s Customer Service Team – Empowered to Delight

If you’ve read customer service best practice stories in the news and blogs you already know that JetBlue has an excellent reputation for customer service.

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An American Express Open Forum post highlights JetBlue’s “Mystical People Officer”, telling the story of a passenger who was blown away by their “People Officer” experience. The JetBlue People Officer stood up mid-flight and announced that he had free tickets to give away to anywhere that the airline company flew for anyone who knew answers in a trivia game.

Amazing right? In the end, JetBlue gave away a dozen free tickets making that flight one those passengers will never forget.

Consider how you might empower your customer service team with training to surprise and delight your customers. If you are inspired by the JetBlue experience, we promise the results will be fun for your customer service team and make a long lasting impression on your customers!

2. B&B Theatres – Great Training and Motivation

Well informed employees deliver better value to your customers. This is what B&B Theaters, a family-owned and operated cinema chain in Missouri, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Florida, USA, learned when they launched a training program for their customer service employees.

B&B Theatres was looking for a learning platform to resonate with their millennial customer service audience. They chose the MindTickle platform to implement a training program with motivational elements such as gamification badges, giveaways, and points. The online training program ties directly into an offline employee recognition program. For instance, top performing customer service reps get to wear a star on their badges to show their online training achievements.

With agile online training programs focused on sales, customer service, and operational efficiency, B&B Theatres has been able to measure and improve employee performance and prove to their insurance company that employees are up-to-date on safety training, preventing costly premium increases. Perhaps the best result of B&B Theatre’s training program is the resounding positive employee response!

Consider how you might motivate your employees and make them happier on the job while delivering cost savings to the business.

3. Lego Goes Above and Beyond

According to the Buffer App blog, against his dad’s advisement, 7 year old Luka brought his Lego Ninjago on a shopping trip and then promptly lost it. The post describes how Luka wrote a letter to Lego explaining his loss and assuring the Lego staff that he would take extra-special care of his action figure if they sent him another one. Here’s an excerpt of the response he received from a Lego customer support representative:

Sensei Wu also told me it was okay if I sent you a new Jay and told me it would be okay if I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan.

Learn from the Lego experience and consider how you might empower your customer service team with training to go above and beyond for your customers. While poor customer service experiences like the Comcast and GoDaddy PR nightmare can go viral and impact your brand negatively, stellar customer service experiences, like Lego’s, can have a significant positive impact on your brand!

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Get Agile Training and Avoid PR Nightmares

The Comcast and GoDaddy PR nightmares reveal how easy it is for negative customer interactions to destroy brand reputation. It also sheds light on how quickly even a little lethargy in any department of the company, be it training or customer service, can lead to disaster. Customer service training should not be a one shot deal, it should be agile so that your team can stay on top of the latest practices.

Unless you want to risk the same PR nightmare that exploded around Comcast and GoDaddy, ensure that you are investing in an agile customer training program that empowers your employees to solve problems and go the extra mile to delight your audience.

Have you considered whether your organization’s training program is keeping pace with your business and the market? Why don’t you talk to a MindTickle expert about your customer service training?