The training of your employees must be constant, for this, you can rely on a customer service manual so that everyone is informed of the standards to follow and avoid providing bad service.
Without a single training plan, managers and co-workers can train each staff member to use different techniques. This can lead to conflict or dissatisfaction when each employee treats customers differently.
Resorting to a customer service manual may be the solution, so today we will give you some tips to create your own manual and keep all your staff learning the same basic concepts, practices and policies of your organization
What is a customer service manual?
The customer service manual is one that contains all the information your employees need to create phenomenal customer experiences. When you combine this with a great attitude and customer-centric mindset, it’s easier to lay the foundation for business success.
The manual will serve as a tool for you to provide employees with consistent customer service training , identify the most important customer service training topics for your team, train employees more quickly with effective customer service training exercises. client and to ensure that clients are treated fairly.
Tips for creating a customer service manual
Writing a manual is not that easy, especially when you start from scratch.
That is why today we are going to share some tips on how to write an effective customer service manual that will help you train great representatives .
It starts with the customer
Most of the business training focuses on the employee or collaborator. The skills and experience they bring are analyzed, a goal is set for the skills they will have at the end, and a training program is created that covers areas for improvement.
This is how retail training works, and training in most other areas is similar.
But 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 problems are resolved, and that they are satisfied by the end of the interaction.
One of the things that makes customer service difficult is that each customer has different needs. They come with different problems and therefore each one will need a unique treatment to solve them.
For this reason, there is a single attribute that stands out above the rest: empathy.
Empathy in customer service is the ability to understand someone else’s feelings and desires, and the best customer service agents have a great sense of it.
Possibly the most important facet of empathy in customer service is learning to understand what success and happiness mean to your customer.
So how do you develop empathy? Learning to listen. The ability to listen is the foundation of customer service skills.
In your customer service manual you should emphasize the importance of empathy and indicate to your employees the resources that will help them.
Remember throughout the training process that the focus should be on the customer, not the employee.
Define the scope of customer service
Your customer service manual will cover a set of topics that are relevant to your service, and it should be for everyone. CEOs have to be on board and employees have to see it.
Dedication to customer service should span all departments and all ranks, from top executives to front-line representatives.
The scope of your document has to match the scope of what you consider “customer service” in your company, and you will want to define this from the beginning in your training manual.
Modern customer service has begun to move beyond mere problem solving to include customer satisfaction during the sales, implementation, and use phases of the customer lifecycle.
This idea is related to empathy: all members of the company should focus on helping customers achieve their goals. This is something that you should address early on and with some emphasis in your customer service manual.
A fully comprehensive customer service training manual can contain a wealth of information not only on specific customer service policies , but on how people in all positions can foster a customer service mindset. Make your manual interesting and useful for everyone.
Mention specific customer service policies
This section of your customer service manual should contain everything you want your representatives (and anyone else who reads the manual) to know.
Since each company has different needs, it is possible that the points that we suggest below do not fit, or that you need to add more details to a specific point.
Use these points as a guide and think about how you will need to adapt, add or remove them to better fit your business.
Interactions with clients
How do you want your employees to interact with customers? Do you want to encourage a specific type of greeting or a particular way of dealing with customer service issues? Is there something you would like your employees to say when they are ending an interaction?
All of these things should be covered here. In some companies, you have to be very specific, you can even provide a script or some examples of how to handle customer service complaints .
This section should contain all the tips and instructions you have to offer on how your employees interact with customers . If you have a retail business, that could mean face-to-face interactions, including sales. You could also include phone support. If you have employees who email customers to resolve customer service issues, that should be covered here.
Specific advice on non-verbal aspects can also be given. Maintain a friendly tone of voice, constant eye contact, an open facial expression, and positive body language – all that contribute to good customer interaction.
Your customer service manual is a living document, so you can update it with non-verbal details , but be sure to do so at some point, preferably as soon as possible.
You can also talk about things like acceptable wait times, words or phrases to avoid, and difficulties that have come up in the past. The entire customer service training manual should be updated regularly, but this section is probably the one that is updated the most frequently.
As your employees come across new situations, add them to this section. Maybe you get a question you’ve never had before, or you add a new product or service yourself that needs a specific treatment. Make the document easy to access and edit so everyone can stay up to date.
It’s also a good idea to specifically address what your customer service agents should do when dealing with dissatisfied customers . It is always a difficult situation, and stress can make people forget what to do.
This section should contain everything your customer service agents need to know about interacting with customers. That is going to be a lot, and it is going to be specific to your company. This section will take some time to develop, but it will be a very valuable resource.
Decision-making power of your agents
What decision-making power do your customer service agents have? Can you make refunds? Offer special discounts? Comply with warranties?
Often times, these are the things that make or break customer relationships, so it’s important to think about them and have the answers in your customer service manual .
While some companies let their customer service representatives make many decisions , others prefer their managers to make them. Whatever your decision, make it very clear.
If your customer service representative makes a promise and the manager says the company can’t keep it, you will have a very negative customer experience.
If you prefer to have your customer service representatives refer specific issues to their superiors, there are several pieces of information to include:
- Exactly what problems should escalate
- The chain of command for escalation
- How Customer Service Agents Should Contact Their Managers
- What service representatives should say to customers during this process
Having all this information documented ensures that the process is efficient , that the customer knows what is going on and that the right people are making decisions.
Return and Refund Policies
Since returns and refunds are common topics, it’s worth documenting them specifically in your customer service manual. Businesses that sell products should have a clear refund policy that customer service agents can easily assess and enforce.
If you offer exchanges, company credit, or any other method of return or refund, write it down in your customer service manual. If there are specific conditions, make sure they are clear. This is an area where customers can easily get frustrated, and having strong documentation can resolve the issue before it becomes a problem.
Tools and resources
In general, you want your employees to be as self-sufficient as possible. And that often means giving them the tools and resources they need to obtain information, make decisions, and interact with customers in the most satisfying and independent way possible.
This section should contain a list of all the tools and resources you can think of. These can be links to product specifications or information published by manufacturers.
We also recommend that you give employees access to continuous training , and this could be a reference point.
A customer service manual is a good place to reiterate the chain of command for various issues and provide contact information for people who can make high-level decisions.
Take care of the format of your manual
You may consider imparting the content of your customer service manual through videos, slide shows, webinars, audio files, and even games to train customer service agents.
Create a living document
Like most documents that you will use regularly in your business, your customer service manual should receive updates . You will come across new situations, you will add new products and services, you will decide on different procedures, etc. All of this must be documented.
Another good habit is to keep the manual in a centralized place that everyone can easily access. Current manuals should allow employees to comment, share, make suggestions, view multimedia presentations, and interact with each other. Documenting your service is an essential component of your customer service strategy .
In short, a service manual is a tool that will help your employees to provide the highest quality service to your customers. A comprehensive manual addresses common customer concerns and internal policies that outline how you want your employees to handle issues related to product returns, complaints, and service issues.