What do athletes and customer service professionals have in common? The need for coaching to achieve high-level performance.
While your teams may not be running sprint drills, they are exercising various transactional and interactional skills to deliver exceptional customer service. As a team leader, you want to coach your people to develop these skills and build the mindset to apply them every day. The right training can help you do that!
But most training focuses on transactional skills, and we inadvertently neglect the Human Interaction (HI) side and the interactional skills critical for great customer experiences. These are skills like:
- Demonstrating empathy
- Regulating emotional responses
- Practicing active listening
- Encouraging problem-solving and taking initiative
Customer service professionals who understand and apply Human Interaction principles can create positive and memorable experiences that engage and retain customers. How can you equip your teams with the right skills and mindset to perform at their best? Let’s dig into it.
The demand for HI is rising — even in a world with AI
According to PwC, 82% of U.S. consumers want more HI in the future, but 59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. In the discussion around AI and how it may automate parts of the customer experience, we should remember the influence HI has in delivering exceptional customer service. Technology serves a vital role in improving how companies work with customers, but no matter what form technological adoption takes, it should include the empathy, active listening, and novel problem-solving skills that only Human Interaction can offer.
The same holds true for training and coaching your teams. Technology can help us do that: for instance, athletic coaches are using AI to improve basketball players’ shooting accuracy and increase runners’ endurance. But AI is only a tool; it’s up to coaches to use insights from their tools — paired with their understanding of the human element — to train champions.
While your customer service teams will use more AI-powered tools in the coming years to help with their jobs, training them on HI will shape them into well-rounded customer service champions. We need humans to deliver targeted, helpful training — and humans to create memorable, positive customer experiences!
Controlling your controllables: the champion’s mindset
In the sports world, athletes face myriad external influences that can affect their mental state. Think of how much coverage, attention, and scrutiny professional athletes experience in the spotlight. It’d be very easy for them to lose themselves in the noise!
To hold firm to their goals and motivations, athletes and their coaches adopt a mindset of “controlling your controllables.” The concept focuses on pushing out the elements we cannot control (like the chatter on ESPN) and investing more energy in what we can control. What falls into that bucket?
- Our responses to situations
- Our motivation and drive
- Where we choose to spend our limited attention
- Our plans and directions
Great coaches can help direct their athletes’ energy toward accomplishing excellence in these controllable elements. This limits an athlete from being overwhelmed by external factors and lets champions perform at their best!
Customer service teams can benefit from a similar approach. Leaders cannot control every external force, whether it’s handling “difficult” customers or making changes to a product or service that’s causing customer distress.
But you can help your team members control their reactions to those situations and incorporate HI to realize successful outcomes. With practice and training, your people can control their controllables and perform when it counts on the “field of play” that is customer interaction!
Human interaction helps teams thrive on and off the “field”
Your team’s “on-the-field” performance will certainly benefit from a greater focus on Human Interaction. But training on HI and interactional skills has benefits “off the field,” too!
A significant driver of employee turnover in customer service stems from the quality of their interactions within the company. If someone receives opportunities to learn from their performance and undertake helpful training — in a supportive and positive environment — they’ll stay and grow their careers at that company.
Leaders who offer their team members training and practice with useful skills can nurture a customer service culture that celebrates progress, rewards their people’s successes, and influences every person positively. Now that’s the kind of company people want to work for!
To equip your team to work together and provide exceptional service to your customers, our Customer Service: Serving Self and Others course trains your people on important skills like:
- Mindset and Perspective — Recognizing our personal beliefs and how these appear in our actions.
- Grit — The ability to purposefully perform at your very best, despite adversity and challenging situations.
- Empathy — Caring and creating a connection to help manage customer emotions.
- Personal Motivation — Engaging the ability we each have to inspire ourselves into meaningful action.
Building your people’s mindset and skills with a focus on Human Interaction can help them support each other’s success, learn from every customer interaction, and improve overall customer satisfaction.
Have your team playing their best with targeted training
Human Interaction is the beating heart of effective customer service. And it relies on motivated leaders who coach their people using targeted training and support.
By prioritizing the development of interactional skills, you can positively impact your customer service professionals and the customers who interact with them. Investing in Human Interaction builds the foundation for lasting change and winning company culture — encouraging your people to play at their best!
If you’re ready to equip your customer service champions with the right skills and mindset, please visit our Customer Service: Serving Self and Others course.