Gauging customer service needs within a company can feel daunting, particularly since it is not the most quantifiable endeavor. However, for our client Hillary Collett of the financial health company MoneySolver, based in Jacksonville, Florida, it actually was.
MoneySolver began as a tax relief company, led by a small group of accounting professionals and an ex-IRS agent. However, as the team dug deeper into their work, they discovered clients with a need for their expertise in additional areas, such as student loan forgiveness, business accounting, loans, bookkeeping, federal and state income tax resolution, credit score improvement, and more.
Collett, who has been with the company for 11 years, started out in data input and rose up the ranks to her current leadership role as corporate trainer. As MoneySolver grew and began serving a higher volume of clients, the need for customer service training for the company’s employees, both internal and external, became apparent.
A QUANTIFIABLE IMPACT
Without uniform customer service training, Collett could see a clear impact on the company’s bottom line.
“We were having higher plan cancellation rates than normal. I listened to calls on the floor and observed our employees. They were overwhelmed and unsure of how to handle the difficult situations that come up when you do what we do. When clients come to us, they are almost always in a panic,” says Collett.
MoneySolver’s clients deal with everything from IRS bank levies to wage garnishes, which means the company’s work is also very time-sensitive.
“As a customer service representative, all of that can be very overwhelming,” says Collett, speaking from years of experience working in call centers herself.
She scoured the internet to find the perfect customer service training program. In the end, it was ServiceSkills’ tailored approach and the work of our Client Success Team that won her over.
THE IMPLEMENTATION: DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
As Collett began implementing ServiceSkills customer service training modules, her employees began strengthening their relationships — not only with customers, but each other.
“I really like the internal and external parts of the customer service platform,” she says. Developing strong interpersonal relationships between employees with clear boundaries and expectations helped build up their pre-existing strengths. “ServiceSkills helped teach us how to be good to the customer, which is vital, of course, but also how to be good to each other and ourselves. When an interaction goes south, there’s no reason to take it personally. Chances are, it’s not really about you in the first place,” she says.
In the context of back-to-back customer service calls, employees felt empowered with the knowledge of how to handle any interaction.
ServiceSkills offers many modules crafted to address exactly how to handle difficult conversations, such as “Six Cardinal Rules of Customer Service” and “How to Handle Irate Customers.”
Dissatisfied clients can range anywhere from explicitly angry callers to those who just want to cancel services. But with the knowledge of how to handle each conversation and what questions to ask, it is not uncommon for a MoneySolver rep to work with a client who originally called to cancel and end up renewing their services. Their confidence was palpable.
Her favorite part of the process, still, is seeing how employees can learn from each other.
“I hear them say things like, ‘Watch out, that was one of the deadly customer service sins!’ It makes me so proud to hear them coaching each other. That’s where they learn the most: from watching and listening to each other.”
Collett even prepared a series of events called “Learning Path Parties.” She splits employees into groups that meet twice per week to discuss a few training videos and modules, where they share feedback and advice. Once employees have “graduated” from a round of training, they have a party, complete with awards, cash prizes, and a welcome opportunity for employees to relax together after work. Collett proves that customer service training can even be (dare we say) fun.
To secure additional funding for customer service training, Collett needed to establish significant ROI. She examined the data on cancellation rates from before and after MoneySolver began using ServiceSkills, and found that cancellation rates had plummeted.
“The data showed a significant reduction in clients who were cancelling,” she says. “It’s very clear that building a strong customer service foundation helped us immensely.”
The company has been using ServiceSkills for over two years now, and the training has continued to produce results. And with the ever-changing landscape of business-customer relations, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, unique needs and opportunities for customer service training continue to arise.
Collett would wholeheartedly recommend ServiceSkills to another business owner. “I’ve seen our reps really grow and change,” she says.