If customer service agents are the backbone of your customer support, it’s important to make sure they’re onboarded correctly and prepared for customer interactions. In this post, I’ll cover 6 steps that will help you create a successful customer service agent onboarding process.

#1 Training on company policies and procedures

The customer service agent needs to know and understand the procedures running in the company. This includes an etiquette on how to handle clients, canned responses, and crisis management situations.

Customer service agents need training about the policies of your business which is crucial for customer relations, but also customer safety as these employees will often be answering customers’ questions while they are waiting for help from others who may or may not have certain information.

The knowledge that these employees receive can make or break customer satisfaction, so this is one very important step all companies must take seriously when it comes to appropriate customer service agent onboarding training.

It’s essential for customer service agents to learn what company policies are before providing assistance because knowing customer policies can help customer service agents handle customer inquiries and complaints effectively.

The best approach when it comes to customer service agent onboarding is not just teaching them the “how”, but also the “why.” This will allow employees to better serve customers because they’ll understand what’s important in your company culture and why certain procedures are necessary.

Arming them with this information is crucial because they are on the frontlines of your company. And according to research, 90% of customers will use customer service as a deciding factor for choosing which option to go for.

#2 Understanding customer needs

A customer service agent should be able to identify customer needs, not just what they want. In order for customer service agents to provide the best customer experience possible and solve any problems at hand, it’s crucial that they are skilled in understanding customer needs.

They need a great listening ear with strong communication skills and empathy because customers using your company services may need anything from assistance on technical issues or help with resolving billing disputes.

It is important for customer service agents to have some knowledge about their business so when confronted by an angry client who can’t get into her account online, the agent knows how to access information on behalf of this individual.

After all, 70% of the customer journey is based on how the customer feels like they are being treated, so focusing on making the customer feel special, even if they’re not right.

#3 Learning how to use customer support software

In order for customer service agents to provide quality customer service and be more efficient in their daily tasks, they need the right tools.

Customer support software can help with many things such as routing calls according to a customer’s type of inquiry, assigning tickets based on customer needs, or particular issues that arise during a call.

Having this tool will allow your customer service agents to spend less time answering basic questions which will save them valuable minutes and hours so they are able to focus on what is important: solving customers’ problems.

Having a business phone app in your arsenal of customer service tools can be incredibly beneficial.

With such an app, customer service agents can work more effectively on-call management. The customer service software can help with speech-to-text transcription, routing calls, and assigning tickets in seconds.

In addition to these customer service capabilities, business phone apps offer many other features that will be of great use for customer agents such as a call center portal where you can see how your team is performing throughout the day or week.

#4 Evaluating their performance

Customer service agents should also know how to evaluate their performance. This is important for customer service agents because it allows them to take charge of their own development and know where they need to improve. There are two types of evaluations customer service agents should be doing: self-evaluations and peer reviews.

Self-evaluation requires the customer service agent to evaluate their performance on a daily basis, often by reviewing conversations with customers as well as other metrics such as call time (how long they talked), first contact resolution rate, total inbound calls answered per hour, and more.

This type of evaluation can give customer service agents insight into how they’re performing which will allow them to better understand what areas need improvement.

Peer review involves having colleagues provide feedback about customer service representatives’ skill sets. This is done, for instance, by having customer service agents critique a colleague’s performance review or asking them to give feedback about customer service representatives.

#5 Running a test customer service session

The customer service agents should also be given the opportunity to run a test customer service session. This will help them get familiar with customer support software and identify any gaps in their knowledge or experience that they might not have realized.

A great way for customer service representatives to hone their customer service skills is by running simulated sessions on how to manage difficult situations such as managing irate clients, talking down someone who’s been hacked, or convincing customers of an important change. After going through these simulations, customer service agents are more prepared when faced with real-life challenges.

In addition, after completing this exercise your customer service agents can offer feedback about what worked well during the simulation and what could’ve gone better—thereby giving you valuable insights into improving customer service.

#6 Creating a knowledge base & FAQ for next reps

A customer service agent’s job is to answer customer questions. A knowledge base can help customer service agents with this task by providing them the resources they need, making it easier for them to resolve customer issues. Knowledge bases are often in the form of an FAQ page where customer service reps just type in a question and then receive a response.

An example of a knowledge base from Groove
An example of a knowledge base from Groove

For example—one customer asks “what do I do if my internet isn’t working?” Simply typing this question into your knowledge base results in all the information you need about what could be wrong and how to fix it right there at their fingertips. This saves time, which allows customer service representatives to handle more customers each day while also reducing stress as they don’t have to search for customer information.

Over to you

Customer service is one such domain that can make or break or company. Make your customers happy and watch how they grow your company!