HR trends

L&D Impacts Customer Experience and Happiness

Written by
Amy Lynn Fletcher
Effective learning and development strategies reduces employee turnover, drives employee productivity, and has a tremendous impact on employee well being. But did you also know it has a direct impact on revenue?

In industries with high customer service needs such as travel, hospitality, retail, business process outsourcing and B2C/B2B SaaS subscription businesses, customer happiness, retention, and expansion are critical drivers of competitiveness and revenue growth.

Whether through a dedicated group within the organization or served using business process outsourcing firms, such as Sitel, customer experience is one of the most important drivers of these critical metrics.

The complexity of omnichannel customer communication, generational gaps in customer preferences, and the speed to which customers expect resolution to questions and issues requires constant learning and development. Without a tight and collaborative partnership between Customer Service and Learning and Development, companies risk dissatisfied customers, high churn rates, negative ratings, and a very serious impact on the bottom line.

With a challenging economy in the works, customer loyalty is more important than ever. Churn is bound to increase due to budget cuts and pricing sensitivity. Smart companies have plans in place to retain and even grow customers by partnering with them to get through the challenging time together. 

For agile companies, your customer service team is the first line of defense to manage that churn and provide customers with solutions.

But that can’t happen if customer service employees do not have the learning and development content and tools readily at their fingertips to help them how to respond to rapidly changing customer needs.

Below are a few ideas on learning and development paths across hard and soft skills to improve your customer happiness, retention and expansion rates:

  1. Mastering communication skills using empathy, patience and consistency 
  2. Adaptability to address different generations, communication preferences, and personalities
  3. Omnichannel communication skills: voice, text, chat, email, video and social
  4. Product knowledge so that your customer service team can answer as many questions as possible without having to make a customer wait
  5. Developing a thick skin so that even negative responses can turn into opportunities.

Below are a few more reasons why learning and development in the customer service organization must be future-focused, available 24/7, and fit-for-purpose in an era of digital transformation.

1. High turnover in the customer service function means that rapid upskilling is essential. New employees must be onboarded quickly and provided with the support needed to develop key skills efficiently. Learning opportunities can also increase employee loyalty, particularly among Gen Z. LinkedIn finds that this young cohort puts a premium on the ability to learn and advance within a company.

2. A recent study by Amazon and Workplace Intelligence finds that 70 percent of those surveyed do not believe they are ready for the future of work. Underprepared workers then increase the probability of bad customer experiences. Add in social media, which can globally amplify the views of one irate customer in a matter of minutes, and the stage is set for disaster. By investing in high-quality learning content, companies can improve employee performance and mitigate the risk of dissatisfied customers.

3. When employees are prepared and confident, social media can work to a firm’s advantage. Customers are more likely to leave positive reviews when their expectations are fulfilled or their needs anticipated.

4. Today, there are a bewildering number of customer engagement tools on the market, and new apps emerge on a regular basis. While Gen Z and the millennials are usually comfortable in a digital environment, Gen X and boomer employees may need opportunities to upskill. As the meaning of retirement changes and extended hybrid careers become more common, ensuring that each age cohort has support to become lifelong learners will improve both the bottom line and workplace fairness.

5. Employees who are not prepared for the future of work endanger not only customer satisfaction but, in a worst-case scenario, put the company at risk of being “cancelled” due to perceived inequity or bias. The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) movement means customers now pay careful attention to how a company meets its commitments to equity. L&D, enabled by an innovative digital training platform such as Edflex, is key in ensuring that actions align with words and employees are prepared for a multicultural workplace.

Finally, to really drive home the value of learning and development in the customer service organization, defining what success looks like, creating metrics and KPIs that are achievable and trackable, and reporting on performance to all key stakeholders is critical.

Think of Edflex as your in-house global learning and development content team but at one fraction of the cost and none of the hassle.

Edflex provides customers with qualified curated learning content that is continuously evaluated, updated, and refreshed. Our customers benefit from 7 Learning Domains, 30 Subdomains, 7 Languages, 5 Formats, and localized learning content in 7 different languages. Our personalized learning options help your employees and leaders prioritize learning at the time of need.

If you are interested in supercharging your L&D strategy, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation.

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