5 Stats That Prove Customer Service Enablement Should Be the Next Sales Enablement
Let’s kick this article off with a quick exercise.
Alright—raise your hand if you think there’s value in developing a sales enablement strategy at your start-up?
Okay, and raise your hand if you think it’s vital to have a customer service enablement strategy, too?
If you’re like most people, this is how you feel. And up until recently, I felt the exact same way. I’ve never met anyone who’s building a career in “customer service enablement” in the same way some of my teammates are building careers in sales enablement. The fact of the matter is, customer service enablement isn’t a field of its own. Yet.
I’ve been working on a project over the past several months that’s uncovered for me why now is the time to make customer service enablement a category of its own. After chatting with customer service training leaders, researching the long-term impact great customer service can have on a company, and learning from agents themselves, it’s clear to me now that customer service is truly the secret sauce that leads to customer service success (and subsequently, customer success, attrition, NPS, CSAT, referrals, company growth, etc.)
How can you be so sure?
Customer service agents are constantly interacting with your customers one-on-one, and your customers are the people paying your bills. These individuals are the voices and faces defining your business for your customers, so whether you’ve got a team of one or 1,000, investing in the training and development of your frontline folks is critical in making every customer interaction a win.
Another reason I’m convinced now is the time for companies of all sizes in all industries to prioritize customer service enablement is this: the numbers. These stats don’t lie, my friends.
- A study by QATC found that industry turnover for customer service averages between 30-45% annually, compared to the U.S. average of 15%. And in 2019, large support teams fully turned over by nearly 50%, in large part due to a lack of training.
- It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience, according to Qualtrics.
- This year (2020), Dimensional Research and Zendesk did a study asking consumers what impacts their level of trust with a company. Offering excellent customer service ranked as the #1 factor.
- Based on a study from the Harris Interactive, 89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
- Based on feedback from 3,500 service leaders and agents, Salesforce’s 3rd Annual State of Service Review cites that the top five customer service priorities in 2019 were…
- Improving workforce skills
- Improving processes and workflows
- Improving service technologies
- Integrating service across the business
- Pivoting from a cost center to a profit center
The list of stats that support the value of fantastic customer interactions could go on forever, but for the sake of moving forward, I’ll spend the remainder of this blog post introducing the three big buckets I’ve realized most of customer success enablement can fall into. Here’s a high-level look at how to create enablement that reps adopt and enjoy and managers can roll-out at scale.
- Develop – great enablement starts when you first assess where your training is today
- Design – when you know where you’re at, you then can design where you want to go
- Deploy – once you’ve got a plan, you roll it out and start the process again
Let’s dive into each of these a bit more.
Okay, so we know that world-class enablement starts with super intentional planning, right? And intentional planning starts with taking a step back and assessing where your team is right now and where you want to go. In practice, this looks like gathering feedback from your reps on what could be better about their roles, looking to the market to identify successes and trends at other places, and then analyzing all of the qualitative and quantitative data you get from those two places to sufficiently evaluate your team’s training status and subsequent needs.
Great questions to ask are…
- Where are the biggest knowledge gaps for reps?
- How can the onboarding process be smoother?
- What are your leading and lagging indicators? (What I mean by this is, of the metrics that you keep track of, whether it’s NPS, CSAT, AHT, the lifetime value of a customer, or any of the dozens others to choose from, which ones are thriving and which ones need attention?)
- What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
So now that you know where you’re at, here are three quick rules that customer service enablement programs that drive results follow:
- Keep lessons under 15 minutes. No need to string together an hour-long training. People prefer short, sweet, and to the point. And if they have questions, they can always go back and refer to what they learned later.
- Include videos, gifs, knowledge checks and chat, email, phone and video practice in your training. There’s tons of value in comprehensive training, and there’s even more value in training with variety. Attention spans are short, and that’s something to lean into. By creating multifaceted training, learning feels less like a burden and more like value, simply because it’s entertaining.
- Get feedback throughout and share before you’re ready. Training is for the agents, so by creating feedback loops, you’ll be able to gauge if it’s actually working. As you build training, ask questions. Send surveys. A lot of LMSs will allow you to gather feedback right in the tool to hear what’s working and uncover gaps if that makes sense for your business.
The last step is rolling out enablement, and this step is simple to say, but harder in action. My best advice based on what service industry leaders do? Tell your team when training is coming their way, and then set deadlines. People are willing to adopt something when they understand what’s in it for them, so clearly articulate the purpose of the training. By understanding its relevance and importance, agents will be more willing to give their time and attention to it.
And then, like all good processes and strategies, iterate. Customer service enablement will need to change as your business changes, as your team pivots, and as the world around us (which, let’s be real, is unpredictable and exciting to say the least these days) evolves, too.
My hope is that this article has the gears in your brain turning about how your team currently approaches training and investing in your customer service agents, and what you can do in the future to impact your bottom line and truly grow your reputation and your agents as individuals.
If you’re looking for a great next step, a great resource is this Customer Service Enablement 101 Certification—it’s free, five classes long, and for leaders like you who are looking to learn and grow in this way. If you have any questions at all, if you learned anything, or if you simply want to connect, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.
Thanks for reading!
Making customers succeed is a business-wide responsibility that requires contributions from each function.
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