There are five simple steps that make your customer service training program so effective, that you’ll be wanting to come back for more.
As a customer service trainer I teach associates how to use the Five Steps of MAGIC (Make A Great Impression on the Customer) to create an exceptional customer experience. But do your customers–program participants–leave your training programs feeling as though they had an exceptional learning experience?
This is a guest post by Jeremiah Walsh, Vice President at Communico, a customer service training agency.
Apply these five simple steps to your own customer service training program–you may find this will leave them wanting to come back for more.
1. Make a connection with each person
The earlier on in the course you can make a connection with each individual participant; the more engaged he or she will be in the learning. A connection helps to build trust between you and the participant and lowers any resistance to the customer service training he may have. Here are a few examples of how you can do this:
- Greet each participant as they walk through the door
- Speak clearly and slowly, with an upbeat tone
- Shake hands and smile
- Ask for (and use) their name as soon as you hear it
- Listen for concerns they may have and respond to them with empathy and appreciation for their attendance
- Connect on a personal level by looking for things you have in common with individual participants
You can also connect with participants by using the physical environment to create excitement around the learning. Consider playing music that is stirring and energetic, post inspirational quotes on colorful flipcharts around the room, or create name cards with colorful markers.
By making a connection early on, participants will feel more at ease and open to learning.
2. Act Positively Positive
As a trainer, you are there to help the participants. Demonstrate this through your words and tone. Focus on the benefits of the training, to them and to their company. If the participant perceives that you regard him as important, he will be more interested, engaged, and involved in the training. Here are some ideas on how you can create a positive atmosphere:
- Use examples of how the learning will increase their ability to do their job
- Relate the importance of the training to the goals of the company/organization
- Encourage participation – be open to new ideas and questions
- Be courteous – use “please” when asking for information and “thank you” when participants answer questions or make a contribution to the group
- Remain calm no matter what the circumstance is in your session
Remember, you set the tone for the room – make it a positive one.
3. Always refer to the thing that matter most to your team
Show participants that you truly understand their concerns. Do so by covering material that relates to their specific situations. Use examples, scenarios, and role plays. Allow participants to practice while you listen and coach them. Adults learn by doing. Allowing them to apply the principles while receiving immediate feedback will increase the likelihood that they will be able to transfer the skills to on-the-job performance.
Also be sure to:
- Ask open ended questions to engage your learners at more complex levels and to get to the route of their challenges
- Avoid tragic phrases, slang, and trainer jargon such as ‘instructional procedure,’ ‘deliverable,’ ‘process orientation,’ ‘paradigm,’ etc.
- If you need to interrupt a participant, do so politely and be sure to give the reason
- Work with the participant, not against him or her – let the participant know that his/her learning is your only agenda
Making the learning personal and relevant to each individual participant’s needs will keep them engaged and heighten their ability to retain and apply the learning.
4. Correctly interpret the facts of training
A part of being a good facilitator is reading the room and paying attention to subtle cues, body language, and tone. Take accountability for the learning experience. It is your job to teach at the right pace, to encourage participants, and to inspire confidence so they may apply the learning back at the office. Demonstrate your responsibility and accountability. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Use MAGIC phrases to give participants security and confidence to achieve objectives
- Be knowledgeable and accurate – show you are comfortable and confident with the course material and the participants will feel more comfortable and confident
- Be proactive and set deadlines – let participants know when breaks are and when each day ends, and let them know if any follow up is planned and give specific dates for next steps
- Maintain an appropriate pace – be aware of the learning styles and learning curve for each of your participants
- Summarize lessons – remind participants of key points in each lesson and conduct reviews
By interpreting the facts you show participants that you are taking accountability for their learning and they leave with the confidence they need to succeed.
5. End trainings professionally
Allow participants to leave the training experience feeling respected and upbeat. This is the opportunity to create a lasting impression with them. Here are some small, but powerful things you can do to close with a touch of MAGIC:
- Get participant agreement on all next steps
- Use the participant’s name at the end of the session
- With a sincere tone, close with a MAGIC phrase for each participant letting them know they are appreciated
- Shake hands as they leave
Once all participants have left, internally reflect on the program. Did you conduct the session professionally? Are participants better able to perform their jobs as a result of their interaction with you?
Your training participants are your customers!
In every situation, MAGIC is an attitude that is reflected in the choices we make when communicating with others. As a facilitator, you can model MAGIC in every customer service training program you conduct. And when you do, your actions speak for themselves and your customers will want to come back for more.
Jeremiah Walsh is Vice President of Communico Ltd. Customer Service Training (www.communicoltd.com), a leading provider of customer service training programs, coaching, consulting, and resources. For over 25 years Communico has helped leading companies improve customer satisfaction and retention.