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New Ways to Train in Customer Service

Jun 03, 2024
4 min read

Table of contents

Customer service is at the frontline of what you do. The way your support staff interact and assist customers goes a long way in shaping perceptions of your brand. 

But here’s the thing: customer expectations are shifting rapidly today. 

For instance, a Gen Z customer of yours would have very different expectations compared to a millennial. But, it’s important that you are able to understand their specific needs and offer assistance – without taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

That’s where relevant, continuous, and effective training makes the difference. It equips your team to deal with different types of customers, difficult one-off scenarios, and also keeps them highly engaged and motivated at work.

So, how do you chart up a training program for your customer service team? What are the things you need to factor in? 

I spoke to Simone Silva, a customer experience (CX) mastermind at Experience Tales Consulting, to understand the latest techniques and strategies that go into customer service training.

Let’s dive in!

1. Currently, what are some innovative techniques being used to train customer service representatives?

Training techniques need to be adjusted to align with the current and future characteristics of the workforce (customer support team),which includes the predominance of remote work.

The design of training content that is immersive in a remote setting becomes paramount. Video snippets of training sessions have a higher likelihood of success, considering the short attention span. 

2. How is technology, especially AI and Machine Learning, being integrated into customer service training programs? 

A historical challenge of customer service training is the balance of in-classroom hours, on-the-job training, and onboarding. AI and Machine Learning have great potential to address this challenge, by customizing the content delivery to the specific training needs of agents. 

It can also go one step further to live coaching, based on the type of interactions taking place between agents and customers.    

3. How do you measure the effectiveness of new training methods in customer service?

The best indicators for success are those related to the employee experience. An employee will have awareness of their strengths and opportunities for improvement, before that being evidenced by any form of feedback or operational metrics. 

Agents need to be given an opportunity to express their opinions and offer suggestions for improvement. Coaching sessions and Gemba chats can be very effective ways to assess training programs.  

4. What new approaches are being taken to develop soft skills in customer support staff?

An effective training program needs to include a multidimensional curriculum. It should address:

  • Technical competencies needed to perform on the job
  • Desired soft skills or leadership behaviors
  • Cultural and strategic alignment 

5. Can you discuss the role of gamification in customer service training? 

Gamification isn’t necessarily new; it started to become popular as technology evolved, but also when millennials were joining the workforce and they became familiar and comfortable with digital games. 

It’s something which is also present among Gen Z and has been growing in popularity among older generations, as they become more exposed to digital experiences.

Gamification is very effective with adult learning as a way to raise motivation and engagement. In the fast-paced environment of customer service, it seems to be a very effective way to encourage employees to engage in continuous learning. 

12 Brilliant Customer Service Training Games 

6. How is customer feedback being used to shape and refine the training of customer service representatives?

This is another area where technology can be a great aid. The best measurement of effectiveness should balance the three types of customer feedback: 

  • Direct feedback obtained through surveys to rate the agent and the interaction
  • Indirect feedback by leveraging QA and sentiment analysis powered by natural language processing
  • Inferred feedback through the interpretation of operational metrics like First-Time Resolution, Average Handle Time, and Conversion Rates.

7. How are training programs being designed to ensure they are inclusive and considerate of diverse customer and employee bases?

Diversity in the customer base and workforce must be considered in the design of training programs. I mentioned before that we cannot limit training to technical skills.

In fact, customer demographics and diversity are very good topics for the cultural section of a training curriculum. Likewise, workforce diversity should be addressed in behavioral training.

In addition, QA and sentiment analysis models must be designed to incorporate pointers that validate the effectiveness of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) strategies. 

8. What new training methods are being implemented to support the mental health and well-being of customer service representatives?

This is another critical topic related to employee experience. It is no longer good enough or acceptable to drive performance, productivity, and service levels and lose sight of human experiences. 

Leaders in customer service need to prioritize community building and the well-being of the workforce. 

9. How important is cross-functional training in today’s customer service environment, and how is it being implemented?

Customer service brings a great wealth of knowledge to the organization. No other team knows and understands the customer as much as the frontline associates. Having said that, those are typically entry-level roles, and to represent the organization well, it is important to give Customer Service Associates exposure to other departments – their people, goals, and strategies.

Similarly, other departments can benefit from getting close to the customer, and a good way to do that is to walk in the shoes of customer service reps. A company can sponsor tours of its frontline functions and make that into an engaging and fun team-building activity.

10. What do you see as the next big trend in customer service training, and how should organizations prepare to adopt these new approaches?

AI will significantly change customer service. Routines will be automated and enabled by AI to offer greater levels of self-service to customers. That will also change the role of human agents in customer service, enabling this valuable workforce to focus on high complexity, service recovery, and high-empathy interactions.


Simone paints a clear picture.

By adopting innovative training methods, you can cultivate a win-win scenario for both your employees and customers. 

Engaged and well-trained agents are happier, more productive, and ultimately, deliver the exceptional service that today’s customers crave.

On that note, if you’re looking to deliver outstanding customer service and streamline processes for your team – you can try Hiver. It works seamlessly within your inbox, while offering AI, automation, and other advanced capabilities to streamline support. 

A passionate content marketer, Nidhi writes value-driven, actionable content for various teams such as customer service, finance, IT and HR. Her expertise lies in helping these teams engage, collaborate, and manage their workload better - by shedding insights on best practices and industry trends. When not working, you'll find her tuning in to marketing and support-related podcasts, while also planning her next vacation.

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