Mohammed Khan, Client Services Manager of The Entrust Group, found himself and the financial services company in a particularly unique position regarding customer service training. Located in beautiful downtown Oakland, California, The Entrust Group offers account administration services for self-directed IRA’s and other tax-advantaged, self-directed savings accounts. As one can imagine, the company’s customer service representatives must be well-versed in complex finance concepts and translating them into layman’s terms.
As Khan emphasized, solid customer service is particularly critical to the company’s success.
“Client services is one of our greatest assets,” he says. “Whether we’re making an outbound call, inbound call, writing an email, or walking a client through a contract, our customer service representatives need to be solid communicators. That’s what is most important.”
The company’s employees also need to be able to effectively serve high volumes of client calls and emails: The Entrust Group currently works with over 22,000 clients, and administers a total of $4 billion in assets. They administer accounts, provide recordkeeping services, and handle IRS reporting for clients looking to invest their retirement money in real estate, precious metals, and other alternative assets. These services, which allow investors to choose from a range of alternative investments, are typically not available through banks and brokerage firms.
When Khan came aboard, the company did not have any customer service training curriculum in their onboarding materials for new hires. With so many clients in a high-stakes industry, it was imperative.
“We had previously just onboarded new hires with information about the industry, types of investments, and financial concepts. Then we put them in front of clients. But we forgot the basics of teaching them how to interact in a professional, uniform manner,” says Khan. Now, all departments of The Entrust Group participate in ServiceSkills training.
Tim Smith, Director of Operations for The Entrust Group, found ServiceSkills through internet research.
“What made me decide to move forward with ServiceSkills was the cost, number one. Number two was the sales team’s responsiveness to my inquiries. Also, implementation was a breeze,” he says.
Securing Employee Buy-In
Having structured customer service curriculum, particularly for a company with a need for top-tier client service professionals, has helped instill confidence within the managers and reps on Khan’s team. He also had many individual conversations with team members, which helped them better understand the importance of the training.
“We didn’t just introduce our employees to the training program and say, ‘You have to do this.’ It had to be a win-win situation for them too.”
Khan reports that the rollout was easy and straightforward. The ServiceSkills Client Success Team helped brief him on how the platform works, walked him through various features, and explained how to assign training modules with deadlines. In particular, Khan appreciated the software’s customizable capabilities. With ServiceSkills, clients can pick and choose tailored modules for each individual employee. Newer employees often begin with detailed, in-depth modules, while seasoned reps may brush up on their pre-existing skills with less intensive, yet impactful, training.
With customizable modules, Khan had a much easier time securing employee buy-in. Reps appreciated the streamlined opportunity to fold in constructive training alongside their day-to-day schedule. He has also continued one-on-one meetings with employees, which allows him to continually assess their strengths and growth areas to customize their training even further.
“One of my employees may tell me they are more in need of de-escalation training, or how to write effective client emails. I can assign them modules based on what they say,” he says. “They’re really enjoying the program. Especially my seasoned reps.”
Once The Entrust Group initiated the ServiceSkills curriculum into their materials for new employees, the company found the information and training to be so helpful that now all employees partake.
“We always knew something was missing. We really, really needed this training,” says Khan.
Now, they all breathe a collective sigh of relief, knowing they have an intentional, organized mechanism within the company for teaching and refreshing the basics of great customer service. And as all business owners know, any opportunity to integrate processes and reduce stress is well worth taking.
With peace of mind intact, The Entrust Group would highly recommend ServiceSkills to another business owner. “We are really grateful to have ServiceSkills as part of our onboarding process!” says Khan.