Introduction:

Congratulations on being accepted into the customer service team. 

The way you interact with customers has an unquestionable impact on customer satisfaction and retention. In Microsoft's 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report, they found that 96% of global customers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand

By working through the following sections, you'll gain a deeper understanding of your responsibilities. Thereby providing an overall better experience for your customers.

Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you. 
- Chip Bell, customer service expert.

This checklist has been created primarily for new customer service representatives and team members. It should be run whenever a new employee joins the service team.

Getting started:

In this section, you'll be noting down your basic information (name, email, role, the date) and deep-diving into the company's story and mission.

Stop tasks can be added to this checklist to ensure users cannot move on to the next task before critical data is logged.

Input basic details

Input your details using the form field below.

By filling out the name, email, role, and date form fields underneath this text, your information will be recorded. This will help separate your customer service training checklist from others. 

Read about the company

Read as much about your new company as you can.

To be an effective customer service or support team member, it's imperative to know the ins and outs of the company you're working for. Customers who get in contact with customer service representatives expect a high-level of knowledge from the representatives.

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Write a summary of the company

Write a summary of the company once you've read about them.

To ensure you have a good working knowledge of the company itself, use the text field below to write a summary of the company. Information should include: who they are, what they offer, and the kind of customer(s) they're targeting.

Learn the company's mission

Learn the company's mission by pasting a copy of it below and reading through it.

"Mission" is synonymous with "objective" or "goal". In essence, it's what the company in question aims to do or deliver

This checklist, for instance, is being run on Process Street. Process Street's mission is to help teams manage their recurring checklists and procedures.

Rewrite the company's mission

After reading through the company's mission, rewrite it.

The best way to get to grips with a new company's mission is by reading it and then rewriting it yourself.

By rewording the concept, you can truly understand the company's objectives. This will also be very useful for when you have to explain to customers exactly what it is your company does.

Understanding your role:

In the following section of this customer service training checklist, you will read about the necessary areas customer service staff members should excel in.

Read about the necessary customer service qualities

Read the necessary customer service qualities below.

A customer service team member is at the forefront of company communications. They're not only the face of the company, but they're the voice of it, too. And in the contemporary world of business, delivering an excellent standard of customer service is crucial. Otherwise, negative reviews can be written, which have a severe impact on any company's reputation.

Here are 4 key qualities all customer service staff members should maintain:

  • Knowledge of the company
    Reading about the company and company mission wasn't a purposeless exercise. It was included to help bolster your own knowledge, so you can deliver better customer service. 

  • Clarity in communication
    Clear communication is key. If a customer has a query, question, or even a complaint, talking to them directly and clearly will help to resolve any issue as quickly as possible.

  • Being empathetic
    It's not enough to be sympathetic to a customer's situation - you have to be empathetic, too. Being empathetic means you're imagining yourself in their shoes, truly understanding their predicament.

  • A tenacious character
    Customer service staff are at the frontline and should be prepared to deal with all manner of people and moods. If a customer isn't having a great experience (or a great day!), their frustration could be redirected to the service team. A tenacious customer representative will turn the situation around, despite it starting badly.  

Want to read a customer success guide? The Process Street content team has written a Complete Guide to Customer Success for SaaS Companies eBook.

List key customer service qualities

List four (or more) key customer service qualities.

Now that you've read the important qualities to have and learn, write four (or more if you have others to add) qualities below. Listing them again will aid you in retaining the information.

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Learn important vocabulary

Learn the definitions of these three important phrases.

Customer service. Customer-centric. Customer-focused. Although they look similar and all begin with "customer", they're defined differently.

You will be hearing these words a lot in the future. By learning the definitions now, it will limit any future confusion you otherwise would've had.


"Customer service"

Customer service, in layman's terms, is the act of helping a customer in a proactive manner.

"Customer-focused"

Being customer-focused means you're aiming to deliver exactly what the customer wants.

"Customer-centric"

Customer-centric means putting the customer and their needs at the center of what you do. Thereby changing how the company-at-large operates to facilitate every micro and macro customer need.

To provide good customer service, the team needs to be more than customer-focused. They have to be customer-centric, as Kirill Tšernov at Qminder succinctly puts it.

Define the new vocabulary yourself

Define "customer service", "customer-centric", and "customer-focused" in your own words.

Similar to how you defined the company's mission in task 7, do the same for the three phrases you learned about in task 11.

Considering the words look alike, defining them for yourself will help to separate them further.

Customer service communication:

A sizeable bulk of your work as a customer service representative will involve responding to customer tickets, messages, and emails. In this section, you will be guided through the process of understanding how to reply to customers.

Vary the initial greeting

Show you know how to vary the greeting by giving three different examples for separate scenarios.

The greeting you write will be the first thing the customer reads. It's necessary to not only write an appropriate greeting (a "Hey! " greeting wouldn't go down well with a customer who's been billed twice and is frustrated) but to vary them accordingly, as well. 

Using different greetings also helps with personalizing the experience for the customer. Last year, 33% of Accenture survey respondents abandoned a business due to a lack of personalized experience.

Mirror customer's tone

Read the reply below to understand how to mirror the customer's tone.

Similar to how the greeting should appropriately match the customer's ticket or email, the overall tone you establish in your reply should mirror the customer's tone

If they've written a happy, jovial message, that's the time where an emoji could be appropriate. If the ticket or email has been written in a formal way, mirroring the formal speech will help to place you and the customer in question on the same page.


Customer ticket:

Jana Milakovich says: Hey customer service team!

I just thought I'd write in and say how over the moon I am with the service I'm receiving from you guys. ✨Every question of mine has been answered very promptly. My subscription is totally worth it.


Customer service reply:

Hi there Jana!

We're so glad you're enjoying the service that we're providing for you.

If you ever have any issues or queries in the future, please don't hesitate to get straight back in touch.

Thanks and have a great day!
Customer Service Team

Install Grammarly

Prove you've installed Grammarly by including a screenshot of it below.

Grammarly is a free, easy-to-use tool (useable as a browser extension and downloadable to your OS) to help rectify any written mistakes. It works in real-time, meaning any errors will be highlighted as soon as they're made.

After you've installed Grammarly via the link above, provide a screenshot of it.

Proofread the written material

Show you know how to proofread by reading the paragraph below and listing the grammatical issues.

Proofreading is an important part of the reply process. Sending a reply with errors in sends the wrong message to the customer.

The italicized paragraph below contains two errors. As a part of your training, use your proofreading skills to identify the issues.


"Writing with correct grammer is important on many levels. Not only does it show that you and you're company are professional, but it also shows that you care enough about the customer to write a well-considered, grammatically-correct reply. Badly written replies with a number of typos will not fill the customer with confidence."

Writing your first customer service reply:

The following customer service training section is concerned with the act of replying to the customer.

You will draft your first customer service reply based on an example we've provided, and also learn about saved or "canned" replies and their usefulness. 

Draft a response

Draft a response to the example ticket we've provided below.

Now that you've read the guidelines on how to respond to customers, it's time to put what you've learned into action. Below this paragraph is an example ticket from a hypothetical customer. Read their message, gauge their tone, then draft your own appropriate response.


Customer ticket:

Jen Milakovich says: Hi,

I've just started using your product via a family member's recommendation. Is this the right place to come to if I'm having any issues? If so, I have a problem I would some help with...

Understand saved replies

Understand what saved replies are and when to use them.

Saved or "canned" replies are pre-written replies to tickets that frequently come in. General, recurring questions such as "what does your company do?" or "how much is this product?" don't need a new, handwritten reply every single time.

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Diffusing tricky situations:

Having written and drafted out your first reply and learning about saved replies, it's now time to realize how to turn frustrated customers into happy customers.

Learn about the H.E.A.R.D. approach

Learn about the H.E.A.R.D. method of responding to frustrated customers.

Not every customer ticket will be a pleasant one. Customer service team members have to ready themselves to respond to an angry, frustrated, or peeved customer at any given time. Read the paragraphs below to learn about the H.E.A.R.D. method, and how it's the best approach for diffusing a tricky situation.


The H.E.A.R.D. method, for frustrated customers

The H.E.A.R.D. (Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Resolve, Diagnose) method was created the Disney Institute, the professional development and training division at The Walt Disney Company. 

They found that by hearing what the customer had to say, empathizing with their situation, apologizing for any real wrong-doing on you or your company's part, and resolving the issue with them, will help to mellow the initially-peeved customer. The last part, diagnosing, will ensure a similar incident will not occur in the future.

For more of the Disney Institute's stellar tips on providing high-level customer service, check out their blog here.

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Summarize the H.E.A.R.D method

Summarize the H.E.A.R.D method yourself in the text box below.

The H.E.A.R.D. method may seem simplistic. But in practicality, it's a terrific, actionable approach.

To remember and retain information regarding H.E.A.R.D., summarize what H.E.A.R.D. is and the 5 steps involved using the text field underneath.

Know how to use incentives

Know how to use incentives as a way to keep customers.

The H.E.A.R.D. approach is a fantastic method of stopping escalation in its tracks. But to ensure customers stay as paying customers, more has to be done.

An additional action for you as a customer service representative is to use incentives. Like a discount code, an extension of a free trial, or a customer service fast-tracking so they can be responded to quickly by highly-trained staff. 

There rule of thumb of when to offer incentives is when the fault has been caused by the company or the customer service team.

Using applications:

Software applications are the customer service representative's tools of the trade. In this section, you will gain an introductory insight into the applications that help the customer service team get their job done.

Get to grips with the email client

Get to grips with the email client your company is using.

Considering there are over 3.8 billion email users in the world, email is an integral resource for customer-facing staff.

Email is primarily used for drafting, sending, and receiving emails to anybody who has an email address. You may have heard of or used other email clients before:

  • Gmail (Here's a list of the best Gmail extensions to help you get started.)
  • Apple Mail
  • Outlook
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Mailbird
  • Proton

A tip to get to grips with the email client is emailing yourself a test email, to ensure you can send and receive emails.

Learn about the customer messaging platform

Learn about the customer messaging platform and what it's used for.

Using a customer messaging platform is at the heart of what you do in your customer-facing role. Help desk software enables your company to receive, track, tag, and respond to support tickets that come in at any given time. 

Customer messaging software is the hub for your customer communications; it's used whenever the company needs to engage back.

Examples of platforms include:

  • Zendesk
  • Intercom
  • Drift
  • Help Scout

For the pros and cons of these programs, read through this blog post: Help Scout vs. Zendesk vs. Freshdesk vs. Groove: The Ultimate Help Desk Showdown.

Understand group chat software

Understand group chat software and why it's used.

Oftentimes, using group chat software at work is the preferred method of communication - and especially among customer-facing staff. 

Group chat software can be used by teams to talk about projects, post information, ask for help on an issue, and communicate with others instantly.

It's far quicker to shoot a colleague a message on Slack, for example, than it is to get up, walk over to them, and disrupt their workflow by asking the question face-to-face.

Examples of group chat software:

  • Slack
  • Discord
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Skype

Moving forward:

This final section includes tasks that will help you finish this training checklist.

The last task of this section, "Assign your manager", will teach you the assigning function of Process Street. It will also mean your manager has the chance to ensure you've finished the checklist correctly.

Ensure keyboard works properly

Ensure your keyboard does work properly. 

A faulty or malfunctioning keyboard will invariably cause issues when writing your ticket, message, and email replies. A rogue letter could slip through causing grammatical errors. And if you're having to adapt to a defective keyboard it can dramatically slow down the process of writing

Test headset and microphone

Test your headset and microphone. 

A customer service representative doesn't only engage with customers through tickets, messages, and email. It's also necessary to have one-on-one voice calls.

A working headset and microphone are crucial. The customer doesn't want to be faced with technical issues from the customer team's end. Having the customer hang-up because they couldn't hear the representative's voice could result in them taking their business elsewhere.

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Book a test call with your manager

Book a test call with your manager and provide the time and date of it.

A test call with your manager will prepare you for future voice calls. The manager can also give you additional tips and pointers on having successful one-to-one calls with customers and clients.

Install a password manager

Provide the name of the password manager you've installed below.

A password manager is a piece of software that offers and generates hard-to-guess passwords and then stores them securely. Using a password manager massively decreases the likelihood of your accounts being hacked.

Assign manager

Assign your manager to this checklist so they can view your progress.

The training checklist has been completed, and you're ready to move on with your role as a customer service representative. Assign your manager to this task so they can ensure you were successful in your training.

Assign your manager by clicking on the "assign" button above, and then input their email.

Adding a due date via the "due date" button will ensure your progress is looked over promptly.


Sources:

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