It is my personal opinion that the content on this page and on this subject is among the most valuable on this entire site. Yet, many people will never click on this page because the topic somehow feels unimportant or not relevant to their lives or careers. But the truth is that it is very relevant and learning these skills will do a you a lot of good in not just your business life and career but in your personal lives as well.
Customer service training is also known under another term. That term is "soft skills" and I assume they were given that title because they are the underlying skills that we use every day that are not connected to a specific type of career or lifestyle. In essence these skills are all about effective communication and the identification of what really is going on and what the other person or people really want as an outcome or resolution. This is very important because, as funny as it might seem, very often people will want or demand something totally different than they really need.
There are a several skills that go under the "customer service umbrella". Listening skills, conflict resolution, proper speaking, body language, policy and product knowledge are just a few of the most important skills under this one umbrella. Knowing a few of these skills is important. Knowing them all is critical!
Some people think of customer service as being the person behind the return desk or the person that handles complaints and other issues. But in reality, customer service includes everything from the point the customer walks through the door, calls on the phone or visits your website until they leave. If anything, and I do mean anything, should go wrong, the entire customer experience can go badly and you risk losing a customer because of it.
Another misconception is that only people involved in customer service should get training in customer service skills and techniques. This is so far from the truth that it is not funny! The honest truth is that EVERY member of a company or business that has ANYTHING to do with customer contact, support functions, product development or warehousing and even delivery people should be given this training. Even the behind the scenes people like the billing department can be helped by this training!
I think of the customer experience as a series of steps that each must go perfectly in order to satisfy the customer. You must have knowledgeable sales people and you must stock the products the customer needs and be able to connect the customer with the right product. You have to process payments and deliver credit accurately and on time. You have to deliver the products on time and with no damage by friendly drivers and assistants. If any of these pieces should be missing the entire customer experience is at risk of falling apart.
What customer service training does more than anything is help create a different kind of mindset. People with this training become customer -focused. By that I mean that they look at everything not just from the company or business point of view but from the customers point of view as well. This helps make the overall experience better by creating more customer friendly and enjoyable processes and procedures and makes it easier and more pleasant for the customer to do business with you instead of your competition.
So even though you might not think that you need these skills, it is important that you have them. They will teach you how to communicate more efficiently, make fewer mistakes, provide a higher level of service and improve your personal performance all at the same time. They are not difficult to learn and you don't have to take a special course or go to an expensive seminar to get these skills. Just spend a few hours reading a few books to help yourself develop that mindset and approach and you will be well on your way.