The 2011 Walker Loyalty Report for Information Technology reveals that customer loyalty has decreased from 54% in 2008 to 43% in 2011. The findings are based on nearly 2000 brand level evaluations of products by 21 IT companies.
Customer loyalty may depend upon many aspects, but there is no denying of the fact that it is one of the main factors. It seems natural that customer loyalty would follow good customer service. According to an oft cited study, 68% of customers tend to change their service providers due to a poor customer service. This goes on to suggest that it is important for the IT industry to improve their customer service in order to retain their customers.
What Can IT Managers Do?
IT customer service representatives, who work within a company to service internal clients, or externally to meet the needs of company’s customers, face complex and challenging obstacles. IT managers need to have a viable plan to successfully train their customer services representatives to face these challenges. A well designed training program can cater to the needs of geographically spread workforces such as customer service representatives (CSRs).
How Can it Be Done?
Here are some tips on what can be part of a viable strategy for training customer service personnel.
Analyze Customer Types
Most of the IT companies have globally distributed clients in various sectors. Therefore, to cater to the needs of clients who are geographically distributed, training of customer service representatives should also vary according to the cultures and specific needs of the clients.
CSRs may interact with the clients by different modes such as phone, face to face, emails, etc. The training program needs to prepare representatives based on their mode of interaction. Basic communication etiquette, speaking skills and handling difficult customer situations need to be an integral part of the curriculum.
Train via Stories
A CSR can never afford to irritate his customer. Microsoft’s Raymond Chen talks about a situation where a customer complains that the keyboard isn’t working. In reality, the key board may not be working as it has not been plugged into the power point. However, if the representative asks customer to directly check whether the key board has been plugged into the power socket, it may be deemed as an insult to the customer. On the contrary, CSR can respond to the customer by saying, “Okay, sometimes the connection may get a bit dusty resulting in the connection getting weak. Could you please unplug the connector, blow into it to get the dust out, then plug it back in.” When the customer checks it, he is likely to find that either the cord has not been plugged or has been plugged in wrongly. He does the needful and replies, “Um, yeah, it is fixed, thanks.” Providing stories such as these during training will essentially help the representatives to apply the knowledge to actual situations.
Fit the Training Design According to Your Customer Needs
Place yourself in the role of your customer, understand his needs. Simultaneously identify your employee skills and accordingly make a proper design of your training. Information technology is about providing solutions to customers and customer service personnel need to be trained to provide the same. They need to anticipate the needs and expectations of customers and be prepared to resolve or address issues quickly and efficiently with minimum inconvenience. Training needs to reflect this thought process.
Implement Ongoing Training
Training should be given on a regular basis and it should be a part of regular business operations.
For new comers, it is important to inform them of company vision, mission, goals, and particular job responsibilities as they represent the organization and need to project its correct image. A continuous training will update them with new skills, knowledge, and technology in keeping with changing business needs and demands.
It would be difficult for the companies to have satisfied customers, if its employees are not trained effectively as they may tend to commit more mistakes and lose valuable repeat business and references from existing customers. In order to retain customers, enough time and resources need to be allocated for continuous and effective training.
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E-learning is increasingly used by organizations as online courses are effective, affordable and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. But, many organizations are not able to realize these benefits offered by the online training medium due to a serious problem – high dropout rates.
Day-by-day, the demand for rapid e-learning is increasing, and so, everyone is using rapid authoring tools to develop online courses. There are many authoring tools available in the market but a few became very popular. Most of our customers and prospects prefer Articulate Storyline to other rapid authoring tools such as Captivate and Lectora. Developing courses in Storyline is very easy, and the tool offers a lot of flexibility to customize the features or look and feel of the online course.
When it comes to mobile learning, HTML5 with responsive design is required to provide the best learning experience on mobiles, especially on smart-phones with small screens. Courses developed in Storyline and Lectora work fine on mobile devices such as iPads and other tablets, but it is difficult to view them in smart-phones. Captivate has a responsive design feature. So, we must choose it if we need to develop courses for all mobile devices. Captivate is not very intuitive and flexible to develop customized features. We can also build mobile- compatible courses using manual coding but it is time-consuming and expensive.
Recently, I read the E-learning Guild report “Authoring Tool for Mobile Design” and in it, I saw the great news for which I was waiting for a while. I thought I should share it with you all. The developers of Articulate Storyline, Lectora Inspire, Lectora Online and other authoring tools are in the process of adding responsive design feature by the end of 2015.
Here is some information from the E-learning Guild report “Authoring Tool for Mobile Design”.
|Scales to multiple screen sizes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Responsive design features||Coming by end of 2015||Yes||Coming by end of 2015|
2016 will be a watershed year for mobile learning as all courses may be made compatible to all mobile devices. Storyline may become the first choice to develop e-learning or m-learning courses because of its intuitiveness. This may force all learning management systems to be compatible with mobile devices. MOODLE is ahead in this regard, and it has a responsive design feature and works on all the mobile devices.
Hope you find this post useful. Do share your views.
Despite today’s technology and a connected world, classroom training is still an effective method to impart training to all employees. But, instructor-led teaching may not be appropriate for all training needs. Suppose there is a requirement for an organisation to train its employees spread across the globe, on a particular product, in a month’s time, classroom training will not serve the purpose. Here, e-learning serves as a good option to train employees, at comparatively lower costs, within a given schedule. Due to improvements in reliability and speed, converting classroom training materials into online courses has become a justified and cost-effective opportunity.
In my previous blogs, I have discussed about the importance of instructional design strategy and visual design strategy, the two main elements of e-learning in terms of design approach. In this blog, I will discuss about the significance of audio and audio strategy.
Every organization has to follow a set of laws which govern their sector in the country they operate. So, it needs to ensure that the employees are effectively trained on these rules to avoid compliance issues. Traditionally, this was done through face-to-face training in an engaging manner. But, with organizations expanding globally and the need for constant training, companies started using e-learning to quickly reach their global employees.
E-Learning is gradually replacing the classroom training format, worldwide. 41.7 % of fortune 500 companies are using e-learning tools for online training (E-learning Magazine 2013).
Online courses need to be engaging and interactive because they are self-paced i.e. an instructor is not present to deliver the courses.
Content comprehension is an important step in the e-learning development process. It broadly includes identification of relevant content and its separation from irrelevant content and arranging it in a proper manner. It enables instructional designers (IDs) to ensure that topics ‘flow’ in a logical sequence. It also helps IDs to find gaps in the content. If performed effectively, it will help you understand the subject-matter of the course better, and you will be able to present the content in an easily understandable manner.
IPad – a device that has revolutionized the corporate world. According to the Mac Observer, 94% of Fortune 500 companies are either testing or using this device from Apple. The widespread usage of iPads has resulted in the opening of new vistas in online training. No longer were learners required to carry “heavy” laptops or remain confined to their desks. People could conveniently go through online courses on these devices. Indeed, these devices have truly made learning anytime, anywhere.
When it comes to training, most organizations have a need for product training. Be it manufacturing, pharmaceutical, electronics or finance, product training needs to be imparted by companies in all industries. So, how does one cater to a single form of training for such different segments? In this post, we will look at a few effective e-learning design strategies that are best suited for product training across various industries.
Curriculum-based courses are very much in demand today. Organizations prefer curriculum-based courses to stand-alone courses. Curriculum courses cater to a long running training program that usually runs for a period of two to three months. It is a course that has several modules which instruct on a particular subject in-depth. From the learner’s perspective, these modules would be easy to grasp and understand. They can be bite-sized modules that are easily accessible by the learners, anywhere, anytime, as per their convenience. Since all the modules of a curriculum are inter-related to each other, it is a tough task to develop such modules effectively.