Using Training Simulations to Develop the Competency of Customer-facing Staff
Great customer service wins and retains business. In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, it’s important that companies deliver great customer service across the organisation. However, customer facing roles face a lot of attrition and turnover, which underlines the need for effective training. Furthermore, the old ways of training delivery are proving either too expensive or simply inefficient. Instead of burying your customer facing staff with manuals on brand standards and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), you could do better. Training simulations are a great way to provide engaging, interactive and motivating customer service training for all front-line staff. And here’s why they work so well.
Training simulations mirror real-life scenarios
Training simulations are great thanks to their ability of mimicking real-life situations and decision-making scenarios. Instead of reading things out of manuals, the customer-staff can engage in an immersive experience. This helps to relate the training to their daily jobs, which in turn drives the behavioural change and increases learning application rates. Just like in real life, every action has a consequence. Some of the learner’s choices will make the customer happy, and some will drive them away. The learners need to utilise their own decision-making, prior knowledge and emotional intelligence to solve the simulation. Furthermore, we can make the training simulation work on two levels. First, the learner needs to make sure they adhere to the SOPs and brand standards. Second, they need to make sure they keep the customer happy with their attitude and responses.
Simulation-based training provides branched and trackable learning paths
In customer service, there’s always no right and wrong. As emotional intelligence (EQ) plays such a big part in the service process, it’s natural that approaches may vary. Training simulations provide almost endless branching opportunities, where learners move on the scenario based on their previous actions. And this is key for training the quick decision-making required in real-life situations. It enables us to keep up the staff’s creativity and problem-solving hunch by providing e.g. only “right” options. In the end, as long as the learners stick to the SOPs and provide good service, the means don’t matter. By allowing freedom of choice in their approach, we can help the learners maintain their personal touch to customer service situations.
Also, we can track and collect learning data on all the interactions happening over the course of the simulation. This means that we can follow the learning path of each learner individually and see what kind of choices they make. We could then use this data to get insights on the employees’ EQ and effort, which could correlate to the employee’s capabilities for more advanced roles. And with the data collected and insights produced, there is no need to formally test employees.
Instant feedback reinforces the learning and ensures SOPs are adhered to
Perhaps the greatest thing about simulation-based training is the amount of feedback that we can provide our learners with. We can address practically all possible situations and the best practices on approaching them and communicate that to the learner. This level of instant and constant feedback keeps the learner engaged and motivated. Their effort is recognised even though they might not have chosen the best course of action and we can encourage them to try again. Also, as there is not really “right and wrong” in many cases, we can point out the pros and cons of each approach. Perhaps the right approach in terms of SOPs would have been slightly different, but the learner showed good EQ and gets rewarded for it.
Furthermore, we can add a little bit of gamification and visual cues to ensure the learners are on track with their progress and keep striving for the best.
Have you tried simulation-based training for customer service and front-line staff? We can help you to produce effective and measurable simulations according to your SOPs and brand standards. Just drop us a note here.