You trained your employees when you onboarded them, but that doesn’t mean their education stops there. Good employees never lose the thirst to continue learning.
Whether your customer support team sought it of their own accord or you’re insisting, customer service training can unify your team and improve the customer experience.
This guide will examine when and why to implement eCommerce support team training, with instructions on how to begin, resources for success, and tips and best practices.
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5 Reasons to Consider eCommerce Support Team Training
eCommerce support team training requires additional time and funding. Is it worth building into your customer service team’s schedule? Here are some benefits that should make that answer a very apparent yes.
1. Gets everyone on the same page
How long have some of your reps worked in your customer service department? You might have trained them just as you did your newest employees, but they didn’t receive the same level of training.
You have surely changed processes and protocols since hiring your longest-term employees. Support team training brings everyone up to speed so no one can complain about having lower-quality training than other employees.
2. Plugs the knowledge gaps
Sometimes, an employee is aware of a knowledge gap but feels too embarrassed to bring it up, especially if you hired them years ago. In other instances, employees don’t realize they’re making a mistake.
After all, you don’t know what you don’t know!
Requiring service training will reinforce company expectations and protocols so everyone works their best.
3. Improves productivity
The amount of time your reps can lose when waffling on how to handle a task adds up. Minutes per call turn into hours per day. After your customer support team undergoes training on customer relations, they’ll do their jobs more expediently.
4. Reduces turnover
Employees who feel left in the lurch are likelier to quit. The high turnover rate of eCommerce businesses works against you, so you must do what you can to retain your employees, such as offering team training.
5. Increases conversions and sales
Reducing response times, improving crisis management, working on emotional intelligence, and implementing customer feedback take the customer experience to the next level.
10 eCommerce Customer Service Team Training Methods and Exercises
Are you ready to get your eCommerce support team training underway? The following exercises, strategies, resources, and training methods will aid you.
Do you need to double down on your company vision? Could your reps stand to improve customer management, crisis management, teamwork, product knowledge, and interpersonal skills?
Roleplaying is a smart exercise to introduce. You can focus on the customer service skills your team lacks, introducing scenarios that could happen in the workplace but in the safe environment of a training center.
One of the most popular roleplaying exercises is asking your reps to sell you a product on the spot. This exercise will showcase their presentation abilities, understanding of customer pain points, personalization abilities, retention, and product knowledge.
Ask several reps to sell you a product, but don’t comment after each presentation. Instead, allow your team to speak, then share which presentation you thought was best and why.
However, don’t make any of your customer service team feel bad for their presentations. This can reduce their willingness to participate in this exercise next time.
Your eCommerce support team training can incorporate artificial intelligence. How, you ask? Use AI to assess your team’s customer service shortcomings and recommend suggestions for improvement.
Since AI can’t oversee the day-to-day operations of your eCommerce business, the best way to use it for support team training is by having your customer service reps take a test about processes and protocols within your company.
The AI can make assessments based on the rep’s test performance.
3. Knowledge Base
Does your eCommerce business have a knowledge base? If not, why don’t you?
Although only a small part of the overall scope of support team training, building a knowledge base can strengthen teamwork, product knowledge, customer service quality, and support skills.
The knowledge base should include detailed answers to common customer questions and informational articles and resources like videos and blog posts. Your reps can peruse the knowledge base on their own time. Later, you can ask if anyone has questions on the knowledge base content.
A knowledge base is as valuable for your reps as it is for your customers. They can find answers to their questions, reducing a rep’s workload.
4. Customer service scripts
Although robotic responses to customer queries will not do anything for customer satisfaction, you can use customer service scripts for internal training purposes. This training module spotlights the company vision, improves technical knowledge, and helps your team learn to handle conflict.
You might begin with a demonstration session, showcasing how your customer service reps should perform in the given situation. Then, you can introduce sample scenarios and ask your reps to follow a script to close customer queries.
Example conversations, ideally pulled from your best reps, give your team a better idea of how to proceed during future customer calls.
5. Empathy exercise
Empathy is one of the most substantial customer service skills, but some people are naturally more empathetic than others. Those who could use the extra empathy boost will benefit the most from these exercises.
Empathy exercises also improve teamwork, positivity, and support skills. One of the most popular is called In Their Shoes. Customer service reps begin implementing more positive words into their vocabulary.
Ask your reps to write down at least five negative responses they typically give customers. Then, ask them to rephrase the statement positively. This should omit words and phrases like “unfortunately,” “I can’t,” “I don’t,” and “I’m sorry.”
Encourage your employees to continue their empathy exercises outside of the training session.
6. The 5 Whys
Another great exercise to implement into your support team training is called the 5 Whys. This exercise can improve many skills, from product knowledge to customer management, crisis management, social media, time management, technical abilities, teamwork, and support skills.
Begin by mentioning a recurring yet solvable problem your eCommerce business has. Next, ask your team to come up with five reasons why the issue has happened. Your reps should begin volunteering answers as a unit rather than doing this exercise independently.
Keep branching out for each answer given, asking why five times to get to the core of the problem together.
7. Secret shopper
TV shows like Undercover Boss might be onto something. Bringing a third party into a typical business operation (unbeknown to everyone else) can be a great way to see your customer service reps in their natural environment.
They won’t be on their best behavior because they know the boss is around. Instead, it will be just another day at the office.
Send a secret shopper in to deal with your customer service department. Then, have them report back and share their experience with you. Later, reveal the exercise to your customer support team and divulge the secret shopper’s insights.
This exercise can improve product knowledge. If you use secret shoppers for your competitors, you can also gain insights into their customer support.
8. Lunch and Learn
The next support team training exercise is called the lunch and learn, which is valuable for deepening product knowledge, customer management, crisis management, social media, time management, technical abilities, teamwork, and support abilities.
During a lunch and learn, you gather your customer support team for lunch and conversations about what’s on your team’s collective minds.
For instance, what ideas do they have? What tactics and techniques do they recommend to make the job easier? What knowledge do they want to share with the group?
You could invite speakers within your company. You might even pull a couple of strings to get big industry names there to motivate your team.
The goal is to get everyone’s gears turning and their mouths talking so you can collaborate more efficiently going forward.
Homework isn’t only for grade school. You might assign your customer service team to read books or other materials on customer motivations and decision-making.
After everyone concludes the reading, have an open conversation about what your team found the most valuable. This will enable the team to provide exceptional customer service.
10. Buddy up
The buddy system exercise is especially great for newly hired employees but comes in handy for longer-term staff who need help in areas like teamwork and work quality.
Also known as job shadowing, the buddy system allows a customer service rep to watch a veteran at work for the day. So why does this work for longer-term employees?
They learn new ways of doing their job, such as shortcuts or alternatives to their everyday processes.
Best Practices for eCommerce Support Team Training
The following tips will help your eCommerce business make your support team training even more effective.
Ask for feedback
Where do you start with your training? Which areas do you prioritize? The best way to answer that question is by requesting employee feedback and focusing on your customer service reps.
Ask them about their job satisfaction, areas they struggle with, areas they think they excel in, and what they wish they knew more about. Keep the surveys anonymous so employees are encouraged to answer honestly.
Pinpoint the areas to improve
Once you have this feedback, it’s time to decide which processes and protocols you’ll improve first. Choose these based on the most consistent feedback.
For example, if 13 of your 20 reps want to learn more about empathy exercises, include those. However, if only a few of your reps are interested in call scripts, hold off on them.
You’re the decision-maker, so base the lessons more on which areas your customer service reps need to improve over what they’re interested in.
Keep the training sessions short
Did you ever feel like dozing off in school during a particularly long lesson, or maybe let your daydreams carry you away? The average person only has so much capacity for information before they tune the rest out.
A good length for training courses is 45 minutes. That’s just enough time to maximize concepts and instruction but not so long that one’s attention span dwindles.
Some of the concepts or exercises might be unclear to your reps. Before the training gets underway, mention that there are no stupid questions and you’re happy to answer anything your reps ask. This should help them feel comfortable enough to open up.
If not, encourage them to seek you out after the training and ask you personally.
Do you have examples from your best customer service reps? Request their permission to include their call scripts or customer service protocols in your lesson plan. Keep the example source anonymous to the rest of your reps.
Seeing an example from a rep within the team can help cement processes the rest of your reps can begin using.
Make it fun
Support team training doesn’t have to be boring, as that will disengage your reps quickly. Keep everyone engaged, talking, and ideating by making the activities fun. Turn them into games. Get everyone participating.
This isn’t school, so it shouldn’t feel strict, but don’t veer off the professional course, either.
Training your support team isn’t a one-and-done process. As your company expands its products and services roster and your customer service team grows, you’ll revisit the training exercises and introduce new ones.
eCommerce support team training puts everyone on a level playing field to work well independently and together. Training exercises should be fun, collaborative, informative, and engaging to keep everyone interested as they proceed through the lessons.
Taking the time to train your employees regularly can improve customer satisfaction and reduce turnover, so it’s worth doing.