It’s no secret that satisfied customers are key to business success, but it can be difficult for leaders to ensure satisfying experiences as a company grows and hires new team members.
While it may seem at first like everything your business needs to ensure excellent customer service, the truth is that it requires extensive customer service training , clear guidance, and ongoing development and support for team members.
The best way to ensure consistent, premium experiences for your customers is to use a comprehensive customer service manual in your training program . A training manual is one of the most effective types of training materials and, when used effectively, will leave your customers happier and more likely to return.
Before you start, review what this article is going to be about.
- 1) What is a customer service training manual?
- 2) What should your customer service training manual include?
- 2.1) 1. General customer service best practices
- 2.2) 2. Statement of mission and value of the company
- 2.3) 3. Conflict resolution
- 2.4) 4. Escalation procedures
- 2.5) 5. FAQ
- 2.6) 6. Feedback survey
- 3) How to create a customer service training manual?
- 3.1) 1. Start with knowing the customer
- 3.2) 2. Establishes general customer service practices
- 3.3) 3. Describe specific policies
- 3.4) 4. Implement tools and resources
- 3.5) 5. Create a dynamic format
- 3.6) 6. Describe all customer service policies
- 3.7) 7. Set schedules to update
- 3.8) 8. Define the scope of customer service
What is a customer service training manual?
A customer service training manual is a guide that covers all the knowledge necessary for your customer service staff to provide outstanding customer service . This comprehensive manual should enable your employees to be trained as they respond to specific customer needs .
But writing this manual is not that easy, especially when you start from scratch. So, we are going to review how to make a customer service training manual step by step. Before we get started, though, I have a few tips on how to write an effective customer service manual that will help you train great reps.
What should your customer service training manual include?
Your customer service training manual should cover the ins and outs of everything that counts as customer service at your company.
This can include every department in your company, including high-level executives, as well as your regular customer-facing employees . It should detail not only troubleshooting steps, but also the ideal customer experience throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
To get you started, here are the essential elements of any customer service manual :
1. General customer service best practices
It highlights standard practices for engaging with customers in person or virtually. Additionally, it highlights customer concerns and trade-offs that customer service team members can make on behalf of the company .
Be sure to include details that relate specifically to your business and industry. For example, if your business deals with sensitive information, include what types of privacy policies are important for customer-facing team members to know about.
Your customer service representatives must understand and embody your company’s mission and values .
2. Statement of mission and value of the company
Your customer service representatives must understand and embody your company’s mission and values in their work. Add these details towards the beginning of the manual and take the time to explain the ways your customer service employees should apply them in every interaction they have with customers.
3. Conflict resolution
Unfortunately, not all employee-customer interactions will be ideal. Provide clear guidelines for conflict resolution and be careful to acknowledge difficulties and frustrations while emphasizing the importance of empathy . Remember: the ultimate goal is always customer satisfaction .
4. Escalation procedures
In the event that a conflict cannot be resolved in one interaction, include a section that lets employees know exactly what steps to take to escalate the issue to a superior or appropriate team member.
Chances are your coaches and team leaders are well aware of problem areas that come up in training and day-to-day operations. Consult with these team members to develop helpful FAQs to design into your training manual .
Your FAQs should not only cover common customer service challenges, but also issues that are specific to your business operations or industry . They should also present the questions and answers, as well as examples that demonstrate different potential solutions.
6. Feedback Survey
Feedback and input related to your customer service training manual shouldn’t be limited to your leadership team. Provide all your employees with a post-training feedback survey to allow them to provide feedback. This will allow them to suggest adding situations that may be missing or improvements to the existing instructions based on your own experiences.
How to create a customer service training manual?
You have already learned what a training manual is and what aspects it should include. Next, you will learn step by step how to make one and make it successful . Grab a pen and paper and let’s get started.
1. Start with knowing the customer
Customer service training has to start with the customer . Business success requires that your customers have positive interactions with your customer service representatives, that their issues are resolved, and that they are satisfied at the end of the interaction.
2. Establish general customer service practices
Before getting into specific customer service policies, it’s a good idea to list some general practices . These are the ideas that rise above all others when it comes to customer service.
Take Disney, for example. The company’s parks are known for their legendary customer experiences, and those experiences are built on customer service. There are many different practices that create a cohesive experience, but there are four main points that employees are taught to focus on:
- To show
Each of these has sub-points and complexities, but as long as employees can remember these four simple words, they will be headed down the path to phenomenal customer service.
3. Describe specific policies
This section will contain the majority of the customer service training manual. It has, in essence, everything your customers need to know and what your agents need to learn. Because each company has different needs, it is possible that if I suggest points that do not fit your business or that more detail needs to be added to any specific point.
So set your own points as a guide and think about how you will need to adapt , add or remove them to best suit your business. Remember that policies delimit all the work that a service agent must do.
You might consider running much of your customer service training through microlearning to keep it from becoming tiresome .
4. Implement tools and resources
In general, you want your employees to be as self-sufficient as possible. And that usually means giving them the tools and resources they need to get information , make decisions, and engage with customers as successfully and independently as possible.
This section should contain a list of as many tools and resources as you can think of. They can be links to product specifications or information published by manufacturers. A database of company services or sales and marketing information might make sense for your company .
I also highly recommend making it easy for employees to access ongoing training , and this might be a place to reference it.
This is a good place to reiterate the chain of command for various issues and provide contact information for people who may make higher-level decisions.
5. Create a dynamic format
Gone are the days of long, dry, text-based training manuals. With modern learning and development platforms, you can distribute information like this in a much more engaging way.
Videos, slideshows, webinars, audio files, and even games are being used to train customer service agents today. All of these means keep agents engaged.
You might also consider running much of your customer service training through microlearning to keep it from becoming tiresome .
Modern learning platforms give you the ability to share your training in all kinds of engaging ways. Leverage them to increase engagement and retention.
6. Describe all customer service policies
Don’t skip the basics. Include the full details of your customer service policies in your training manual as a reference for your team members to point out when they need to use your training.
Many customer service teams even create dedicated policy and procedure manuals for their teams that outline their support ticket priority levels, escalation policy, etc.
These policies should be the foundation of all your customer service rep training, so it’s vital to explain them in plain language and design examples and training activities to bring them to life . It uses standard operating procedures (SOPs) and process documentation to highlight step-by-step instructions on how to address different issues.
7. Set schedules to update
Like most other documents you’ll use regularly in your business, your customer service training manual should receive regular updates . You will encounter new situations, you will add new products and services, you will decide on different procedures, etc. All of this must be documented.
Keeping your customer service training manual in a central location where everyone has easy access to it is another good habit – this way there is only one copy and there will never be conflicting versions . (Using a learning management system is a great way to store and maintain documents like this.)
The days of boring, static training manuals are over. Today’s manuals must allow employees to comment, share, make suggestions , view multimedia presentations and interact with each other. Your customer service documentation is a core component of your overall customer service strategy – do it justice with a great manual!
8. Define the scope of customer service
Your customer service training manual will cover a set of topics that are relevant to customer service. But what does that include? You may be creating a training manual for customer service agents, but you may also be creating a document that will help your sales and marketing teams use customer service principles in their jobs.
Companies that provide legendary customer service place a strong emphasis on serving customers starting at the top. CEOs need to be on board, and employees need to see that. Dedication to customer service must span all departments and all ranks , from the highest executives to front-line representatives.
Modern customer service has begun to push the scope beyond simply solving problems and fixing problems and expanding it. Now you need to ensure that the customer is satisfied throughout the sales , implementation, and use phases of the customer lifecycle.
This idea is related to empathy: everyone in your company should be focused on helping customers achieve their goals . This is something you should address early and with some emphasis in your training manual.
A comprehensive customer service training manual can have a wealth of information on not only specific customer service policies, but also how people in all roles can foster a customer service mindset .
Make your training manual interesting and useful for everyone who is thinking about customer service.
You now have all the information you need to improve your business’ customer service. Ready to create yours adapted to your company? Remember that everything you have just read must be adapted to all the objectives of your own business.