The customer experience hinges on the perception of professionalism and expertise, and nothing is more important to customer service satisfaction than properly trained employees, regardless of the industry. It’s common for businesses to cut corners and rush employee training, but insufficient training is a quick road to both employee and customer frustration. Adversely, it’s also common for companies to invest time and money into corporate training that’s unsuccessful and a waste of resources. In both cases, the customer experience suffers.
Fortunately, training methods continue to evolve and technologies like digital signage are able to provide inroads for companies to improve employee communication and knowledge retention. If a company is willing to adapt, employee training is easier, smarter, and more effective than ever before. Whether a business is looking for a game-changer to revitalize training or simply wants to add an edge to an already established training program, digital signage integration is one way to turn things around. No matter the method, it’s crucial to understand how employee training influences the customer experience.
The Importance of a Successful Training Strategy
The long-term benefits of a strong training program often exponentially outweigh time and money invested in developing and implementing that program. This holds true for new employee training as well as change-driven training meant to guide employees through internal policy shifts or the introduction of new technology. There really is no substitute for knowledgeable, committed, well-trained employees, and it’s up to management to create an environment where employees can thrive during and after proper training.
Not only does training better prepare staff for day-to-day interactions with consumers, making employees capable and willing to go above and beyond expectations, but with the right training the entire customer experience is improved. Benefits of a good training program include but are not limited to:
- Market and Audience Familiarity – The saying “knowledge is power” should be a customer experience mantra. The most satisfactory customer service experiences are fueled by an employee’s familiarity with both the target audience and the ins and outs of the market, whatever it may be. When employees have access to relevant expertise and information provided through proper training, they’re better equipped to answer questions, resolve issues, and provide guidance to customers faster and with more efficiency. According to the Harvard Business Review, the impact of a positive customer experience is huge. , and a happy customer is more likely to repeat business. What does this have to do with training? As mentioned, when employees are well-trained, they’re able to elevate the customer experience and provide a level of quality that can often exceed customer expectations. As a bonus, when customers have a good service experience not only will they come back, they tend to tell their friends.
- Customer Satisfaction and Retention – According to the Harvard Business Review, the impact of a positive customer experience is huge. Consumers spend as much as 140 percent more when the customer experience is a satisfying one, and a happy customer is more likely to repeat business. What does this have to do with training? As mentioned, when employees are well-trained, they’re able to elevate the customer experience and provide a level of quality that can often exceed customer expectations. As a bonus, when customers have a good service experience not only will they come back, they tend to tell their friends.
- Increased Productivity – Poorly trained staff members spend more time searching for information, have a higher probability of providing the wrong information, and can adversely affect the customer experience. The expertise and knowledge attained through smart training increases productivity by empowering employees with the know-how to solve problems and satisfy customers. An educated employee can quickly and easily resolve customer issues without sacrificing service quality. Simply put, well-trained employees are more productive.
Market and audience familiarity leads to increased productivity which in turn influences customer satisfaction and retention. Think of employee training as an equation that incorporates these elements, and it becomes easier to create an exemplary customer experience.
Tips to Strengthen Training for Efficiency and Accuracy
Internal auditing of a company’s training programs and policies is a continuous way to influence the customer experience. Whether audits have a positive or negative effect on the customer experience depends on methods used and goals set. That’s why it’s so important to manage flaws and address concerns whenever a new training opening arises.
Strengthening training methods to improve efficiency and accuracy can mean investing in new resources, revising current strategies, and providing timely guidance through design. It’s easier than it sounds, and here are a few tips for making the most of company training:
- Mixed Media Learning – Humans are visual learners. Unfortunately, many training programs rely on manuals and videos that haven’t been updated since they were created, and stale training material is boring. Sometimes, revitalizing a training program can be as easy as throwing out the old book, so to speak, and writing a new one. Successful training takes advantage of mixed media learning whenever possible. Digital signage solutions, face-to-face interaction, video, manuals, written scripts, and online resources can all contribute to unique training opportunities when implemented in a hands-on environment.
- Communication – Communication is key when attempting to engage employees in new training methods, and failure to communicate can lead to a breakdown of employer/employee/customer relations. A sense of comfort and cohesion comes with an open channel of communication. If an employee has questions or concerns regarding company policy or customer service procedure, it’s important that they feel comfortable communicating internally.
- Design and Timing – Good timing leads to better training. Even the most impressive, technologically advanced training strategies can fail if not timed appropriately and designed to work in tandem with changes or new technology introductions. Although they’re specifically referring to the restaurant industry, Fast Casual’s advice to “conduct training when an improvement is being rolled out” and to “think of training in terms of continuous improvement” is a smart way to approach designing a new strategy or improving an existing one. Training is not a one-and-done practice, and it’s vital to continue to modify and enhance training opportunities as they arise.
Winning Over Employees Means Winning Over Customers
If companies imagine employees as internal customers, the goal of any training session should be to “make the sale.” Smart training strategies are a company’s most effective means of instilling employee confidence in their own abilities as well as company priorities. Winning over employees means winning over customers in the long run. Well-trained employees are able to improve the overall customer experience, and the two will always go hand-in-hand.