durhamlane is a company that is passionate about helping sales and non-sales employees to become the very best they can be. This is achieved through consultancy, training and coaching services – conducting, developing and delivering engaging programmes designed to create a measurable difference. The training blends a mix of theory and practical activities, and all staff are ‘business people first and trainers second’, so participants benefit from experiences and real-world examples.
Here, durhamlane co-founder, Richard Lane, shares the company’s views on the importance of ongoing training in call centre environments, and gives advice on safeguarding customer satisfaction and expanding into new markets…
There is no doubt that the medium of mass telecommunications has transformed in recent years. Customers and clients expect more for less at a faster pace and more efficiently than ever before. What’s more, in the internet-age, everybody is an expert on the products they buy and the level of service they should receive. What then, can we do to keep up with the changing environments we work in, and keep our customers happy and coming back for more?
Successful salespeople have altered their mind-set, shifting focus away from the cold sell, to a more organic, developmental approach. Likewise, customer service representatives must be aware of the shift their clients expect away from reactivity, towards more proactive resolutions.
This is why ensuring that staff training is regular and comprehensive is paramount. To make the most of training opportunities, here are a few pointers:
Assess learning needs and goals: Without assessment of skill gaps and learning styles, training will often fail to deliver at the right level. Be serious about a rigorous programme to initiate behavioural change and achieve results. Consider a ‘mini module’ approach to deliver flexible and customised content each and every time.
Flexibility: With ever-changing buyer mind-sets and organisational complexity, the days of running standard training courses are behind us. It’s now about customer-focused problem solving and strategic prospecting. Follow an agile and flexible approach and ensure that training content is always state of the art.
Be engaging: Too often, standard training can become boring. When training is not relevant, not delivered at the right level, and too focused on lecture versus practice, it can have a negative impact on team morale and won’t result in behavioural change. Engage your workforce with a range of work-based examples, interactive exercises and practical tools.
Acquire buy-in from all management tiers: No matter how good a training event is, approximately 90 per cent of learning is lost within 30 days, if it’s not reinforced. By building programmes that involve and excite all levels of staff, you can ensure new methods will stick.
Keep coaching: Coaching is a vital follow-up for on-the-job learning. Under the pressure of achieving quota, managers usually don’t find the time for coaching sessions. If this is the case, consider third-party organisations with experienced sales professionals who deliver coaching on your behalf to ensure that goals and action planning actually happens.
In a world where customer expectations are fluid and informed, the need for innovative training cannot be underestimated. Salespeople and customer service executives must continually adapt to meet the needs of their clients – only training can provide the skills needed to reach the pinnacle of their potential.
Richard Lane is co-founder of the sales outsourcing, training and recruitment company, durhamlane. He is an experienced sales practitioner and consultant with over 20 years’ commercial experience.