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Training in a multi-channel world

Training Development Web

As customer channel choice continues to increase, businesses must ensure advisors are confident and capable in handling enquiries across a multitude of on and offline channels. Here, our training team share some of their tips to create an effective multi-channel team...

Today's multi-channel world allows customers more choice in how they engage with businesses, and which channels they choose to use. To keep customers satisfied, businesses must recognise customer channel preferences and provide choice. This brings challenges in ensuring customer enquiries can be handled effectively across all channels.

Investment in training is vital
To ensure a great customer experience, each and every time, businesses must ensure that their customer-facing advisors are trained and confident to deliver across multiple traditional and digital channels. As a multi-channel outsourced contact centre provider, here are our tips to ensure your advisors are fully equipped for today's multi-channel world...

1. Treat employees as individuals
Each of your employees is unique - from a range of different age groups and backgrounds. A blanket approach to training, whilst cost and time effective, will not be personalised enough to deliver optimum results. Trainee exposure to - and skill level with - different contact channels may very greatly, and therefore training should be tailored and matched to individual needs and requirements.

A full training needs analysis can highlight employee strengths, weaknesses and development needs. It can also be a great tool in avoiding stereotyping trainees in terms of suspected capabilities. Finally, it's important to note early whether some employees are simply not suited to some contact channels. Don't seek to overburden those people that simply do not suit multi-skilling across all channels.

2. Ensure you avoid the danger of multi-tasking
Just as each employee is an individual, so is each customer. It doesn't matter which channel a customer chooses to engage a business through, that customer should be given dedicated attention - and this is something to really emphasise during training. Fragmenting advisor attention, for example by handling multiple web chats at one time or social media interactions at the same time as a call, inhibits ability to give each customer the care and attention they deserve. Training programmes must instil the correct expectations from the outset when it comes to multi-channel contact handling.

3. Tone of voice
Tone of voice is an integral part of effective customer service. Trainers should spend time outlining how tone can evolve to suit different channels and enable advisors to tailor responses in the most effective way. For example, is messaging intended to be friendly and casual, or is it supposed to be more professional and direct?

Practical exercises and frameworks can support skill development in this area once trainees understand the tone, style and remit they are looking to achieve within each channel.

4. Taking time to reflect
Real life examples of success and failure can help distil unease and the fear of the unknown, especially where individual examples can be linked back to customer satisfaction scores. In addition, encouraging employees to use a variety of channels in their own personal life interactions with businesses, can help them to build both experience and confidence and look at how other companies effectively (or not!) handle enquiries through various channels.

5. Guiding customers
Trainers can also help trainees to recognise how to use their knowledge and skills to support customers to make the best possible channel choice as an enquiry or contact evolves. For example, while a customer may have tweeted a business in the first instance, the enquiry may prove to be increasingly complex. Confident advisors will be able to recognise this and feel well placed to offer the customer channel choice and guidance for a more effective customer experience.

The value of the human touch
Engaging and retaining customers in a world of channel choice clearly relies on a team of confident, well-trained and empowered advisors. And, whilst businesses must be prepared to offer channel choice, what's clear is that whatever their channel of choice, customers are simply seeking an effective resolution to their enquiry.

So, whilst multi-channel training is important, training must remain centred on the practice of delivering great service to customers each and every time. Look after your people, and they will look after your customers.

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