It takes more than a motto to create consistently exceptional customer experiences. Our Instructional Design team shares how to think about effective CX training for employees.
Most companies have a long list of required employee training – mostly issued by the HR team to protect the company. Exceptional companies go beyond compliance and use training to build competitive advantages in areas like customer experience (CX).
Customers with higher satisfaction and loyalty scores rigorously train their employees how to behave and respond to customer cues.
Practice how you want to perform: That’s how companies should train employees to impact CX.
The fundamentals of a CX training program
Start with the basics. Above everything else, CX training needs to be relevant, actionable and accessible for learners.
Employees need to understand the business impacts of CX first, the why behind the material. Make it clear how CX content applies to strategic priorities or nearer-term, monthly or quarterly goals. Then, employees can connect learning concepts to practical aspects of their jobs and real-life impacts on customers’ lives. To be effective, CX training needs on-the-job takeaways that employees can use right away.
To be accessible, content and delivery mechanisms should match. For example, some content is best delivered in person, while other topics can be completed virtually or independently. Individual learning styles, learning progress, and roles need to be considered as well.
Data is a key feature of effective CX training programs
Like most corporate initiatives, data is key. Leaders need to see the end-to-end customer journey and where pain points exist to inform training.
Let’s say customers are complaining about speed to resolution. They say it takes too long to reach a support agent and for their issues to be resolved. As a first step, leaders need data on the issue. How long is the average wait time? What’s the process, and where are the breakdowns? From there, they can set a goal and supportive training strategies. Maybe that includes upskilling workers to handle more customer issues on the frontline.
Data points tell stories (case studies) that you can collect and share and, more importantly, build into future company processes. Metrics and outcomes link the material to real results.
When you build training around company data, it’s not lofty or esoteric. The tools and skills you teach are relevant and actionable immediately.
How to support employee CX learningSeveral best practices in learning and development can help employees learn and retain CX training concepts. For example:
- Bundle content into units of learning so employees can explore topics in depth. Include examples that are interesting and engaging (and ideally real, sourced from the field). Discuss how difficult situations were handled and how it affected business outcomes. Data has a role here, too. Bring customer verbatims and scorecards into lessons to reinforce the content and bring it to life.
- Learning should be multimodal. Model trainings after real-life routines and processes. Then, ask employees to run through a multi-step decision process to make sure they’ve mastered the concepts (e.g., role play fielding a call from an upset customer). The application should include multiple paths for the learner to go down, and employees should receive feedback on their performance.
- Keep the curriculum current. Training materials and learning mechanisms should evolve to match current customer feedback. You can also adapt the delivery as new learning technologies become available.
- Encourage practice to reinforce learning and sharpen skills. Training “pushes” and regular check-ins keep the training content front-and-center.
- CX training is appropriate for employees at every level of the organization – but that doesn’t mean everyone needs the same type or level of training. Tailor CX training for leaders and frontline workers, for employees who work in CX, and for those in tertiary roles. They all need different skillsets and depths of knowledge.
Commit to CX Training
Executives need to commit to CX training and role model learning for the effort to truly takeoff. Leading by example reinforces the content – and the importance of customer centricity.
Invest in behavior changes by giving employees time to complete CX training (or to pursue certification if their roles and the company would benefit). And remember to recognize employees who complete CX training. To become customer centric, companies need to reward and incentive powerful, positive behaviors, including CX training.
The CX training gold standard: CX certification
CX certification is one way to validate that you’re teaching the right skills, to the right people, at the right times – and that training is making a measurable impact.
If none of your current employees are certified in CX, consider training to get your team up to speed. Look for companies that specialize in your specific industry or that have extensive experience in CX.
Contact NPSx to learn more about CX training, certification and accreditation programs.