Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Guest Blog: How to Build a Comprehensive Onboarding Module for Customer Service Training

This week we feature an article by Anand Srinivasan who writes about how important it is to have a properly trained customer service team to ensure business success. – Shep Hyken

Customer service is one of the primary drivers of growth in many organizations. Studies show that businesses that provide a positive experience to their buyers positively impact their profitability. For instance, a Dimension Data report found that nearly 84% of organizations that worked towards improving customer experience saw a corresponding increase in revenue.

In terms of sales, the probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 14 times higher than the odds of selling to a new customer. Repeat purchase is however driven by how happy the customer is after a transaction. Over 86% of customers are reported to be ready to pay more for a better experience.

In other words, the success of a business is directly impacted by how well the customer service team is trained. Building an effective onboarding module for your support team is thus critical to business growth.

Traits that define a great customer service rep

The first step in building an effective onboarding module is to identify the traits that define great customer service. There are a few factors that matter here. For one, a good customer service rep must be aware of their company’s missions and values. This also includes a good understanding of the business.

Secondly, there should be a balance between professionalism and personality when it comes to interacting with customers. It is easy for an individual representing a ‘fun’ brand to cross over from informal to unprofessional. It is critical for a service rep to be mindful of their tone and tenor at all times.

Listening is a vital aspect of great customer service. It is not always possible for a service rep to resolve an issue satisfactorily. Regardless of this, it is important to show your customers that they are valued and that their issues are being actively fixed or monitored.

Lastly, customer service reps are expected to manage their time effectively. A well-trained executive would know how to deal with customer issues promptly and also disengage them without making them feel unvalued or unheard.

Building an onboarding module

Customer service training is a continuous process and onboarding is merely the first step in the journey. The ideal onboarding module helps a new recruit get inducted into their team and continues to exist until the employee has fully eased into their role in the organization.

It is highly recommended for businesses to invest in eLearning tools for the onboarding process. Firstly, this ensures consistent training practices for all freshly recruited employees. More importantly, customer service reps are routinely hired from multiple time zones. LMS offers an effective platform to remotely train workers without the need for face-to-face interaction.

Modern trainers rely on techniques like byte-sized learning to improve learning retention. This strategy breaks down lessons into small chunks of not more than 3-10 minutes in length. Workers show greater engagement and retention using such techniques.

Such training methods must also be sufficiently complemented with goal-setting sessions. Clear goals over periods of 3 months, 6 months and a year should be set out for the new hire, along with performance objectives that are expected out of him or her.

In addition to this, management should hold an informal check up on the new hire once the employee has been around for 30 days. This helps the organization address any issues that are of immediate concern of the employee. Such periodic checks every two or three months help organizations assess the progress in learning and performance and are thus critical to both the worker and the business.

Finally, the onboarding process should be open to feedback in order to calibrate it and perfect it based on the concerns of the people who go through it. A good onboarding process should continuously iterate and improve based on constant feedback.

Customer service is no longer viewed as a cost-center. Businesses like Zappos have been able to successfully differentiate themselves on the basis of great customer service. Establishing a solid onboarding program for your service executives can thus play a pivotal role in the success of your organization.

Anand Srinivasan is the founder of Hubbion, a free-to-use project management tool for small and medium businesses. He is the author of How We Did It.

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Happy New Year: It’s Time to ‘Start Over’


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