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How to improve customer service training with video

When looking for nuggets of wisdom around the importance of customer service in business, you might not think to look first to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And yet, one of the most articulate, incisive comments on the topic is widely attributed to legendary coach Vince Lombardi, who said: 

“It takes months to find a customer, and seconds to lose one.”

They’re words to live by, particularly in the modern day when your competitors are literally a mouse click or two away. 

So it’s little wonder that businesses invest heavily in customer service training. Business leaders can make this an operational priority as much as they like, but – when it comes down to it – it’s the customer-facing people in your organisation who have to deliver.

And often, education is the key: how should they act in this scenario? What do they offer in that situation? How do they respond when a customer acts awkwardly, or isn’t happy? Training gives them the tools to deliver the service your customers need, and expect.

One of the best tools at your disposal here is video. Let’s explain more…

Why use video for customer service training?

When it comes to training your team in customer service, there are lots of options available – face-to-face sessions, manuals, brochures and workshops. So why choose video?

There are a variety of reasons why it’s such a great choice:

Consistency – This is one of the watchwords of great customer service – customers want to be treated consistently, with a sustained level of knowledge across your team. The problem is, by definition, training is often delivered inconsistently – by different people, in different styles, covering and emphasising different elements. Video fixes this issue – it allows you to really ‘nail down’ the message – and deliver it consistently, every time. 

Value – Because of the above, you can dramatically save on training costs. This is because you pay once, up-front, for the creation of the content – and then deliver it scalably, time and again. The more you use it, the better the value!

Effectiveness – Video is a multi-sensory mix, making it a great tool for learning. It’s widely known that people absorb information  in a variety of different ways – some prefer to see, others to listen, others still to touch and feel. Video combines audio-visual elements with motion – making it a highly effective tool for knowledge transfer and retention.

Repeatability – Unfortunately, plenty of conventional training is delivered once, and soon forgotten. It’s more or less impossible for the human brain to absorb every piece of information delivered in a session, and it’s inevitable that some will be forgotten, missed or slip through the cracks. In theory, the learner could ask questions or request recaps from the instructor, but – for a variety of reasons – that isn’t always possible, or realistic to expect. Video is great because it allows learning to be revisited and repeated, regularly and at scale.

Great examples of customer service training videos

So, let’s take a little look at the sort of customer service training videos companies are creating – what it does, why it works, and what lessons you might be able to take away when it comes to creating your own videos.

Nikwax

Here’s a video we created to educate retail salespeople on how to explain the benefits of Nikwax. Nikwax is a coating and cleaning product designed to extend the lifespan of waterproof garments. Of course, there’s a sales and upselling element to this video, but the most important thing is that this is a real value-add for the customer. It’s a relatively low-cost addition that’s designed to significantly extend the value of their investment.

One of the great things about this video – and a common thread throughout some of these great examples – is that it replicates the actual store environment and sales process. Using animation to do this is a really smart move, since it allows you to control every element of what’s on screen. It’s also a little less ‘cheesy’ than some live-action videos which aim to achieve the same thing!

Touts Budgens

Tout’s Budgens is a British supermarket chain that’s nearly 150 years old. Operating in an intensely competitive market, the brand prizes customer service as a key differentiator and driver of business success.

There’s a lot to like about the video. Firstly, the way it starts by underlining why customer service is so important to delivering success for the business.

Start with Why” is a business mantra most recently popularised by Simon Sinek, who used it as the title of one of his books. But it essentially means, explaining what people need to do, and how they need to do it, can only be so successful if they don’t primarily understand why.

It sounds obvious but it’s essential to make sure that your people understand that customer service isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’ or an ethical decision. It can be the difference between your business succeeding and failing. Educating people as to WHY they should be invested in this is a great starting point in making sure they’re engaged and eager to learn.

From there, just as with the Nikwax video, it’s great how the video replicates the in-store experience 

We’re also big fans of how the key training message is broken down into the easily memorable ‘SAT NAV’ acronym. Breaking big messages down into easily understandable chunks, ensures employees have key things to remember and work on that will move the needle fastest.

Nintendo

Let’s zip back in time to 1991, and a training series produced by gaming giants Nintendo. Keeping in mind that this content is now thirty years old, it looks a little dated and, as you’re watching it, you’re constantly expecting to cringe. We all remember this type of training video!

But what this actually does really well, to the extent that you find yourself watching out of light entertainment rather than obligation, is inject humour to make important points. 

Take for instance the guy returning his SNES wrapped in duct tape and covered in stains that look suspiciously like cola spills. Some of the character work here is legit entertaining, and has you smiling at the screen, but every scenario depicts an important, relatable scenario and explains how to act if that scenario (albeit, dialled back a little!) actually occurs.

5 Top tips for great customer service training videos

1. Don’t try and do it all in one go

The author and speaker Damian Hughes often uses an analogy for training that centres around tennis balls.

He talks about how easy it is to catch one tennis ball when it’s thrown to you – but how it  becomes progressively difficult as more balls are thrown. Two is slightly more difficult, three is really challenging, and once you get to four or five, the likelihood is that all of them are going to end up rolling around on the floor!

This metaphor cuts to an important truth about training: if you try and get people to remember a huge number of different things, there’s a high likelihood nothing will end up sticking.

It’s the job of the leader, coach or trainer, to identify the individual changes that will make the biggest difference to the overall performance. 

Applying this logic to your training videos, what we’re saying is: break down the key messages into bite sized chunks, mantras and acronyms. (The Tout’s Budgens example offers great inspiration here.)

And, above all, break your message down into smaller segments: 10 x 1 minute videos are so much better than 1 x 10 minute video!

2. Make learning easy to find, revisit and refresh

We’ve already discussed how learning can sometimes be delivered once and then left alone. This clearly isn’t the optimal way to treat training and upskilling in your business!

It’s really important to make sure training can be user-led. What this means is making video content available all the time, in a clearly indexed way, so people can find the exact content they need. 

This doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Here at Wyzowl, for example, our team uses Google Drive as our file sharing system. Each team member has their own personal ‘My Drive’ with their own files in, but they also have access to ‘Shared Drives’ – such as Resources, Marketing, and Company Documentation. If anyone needs to find training content at any time, they know exactly where to look for it. 

 3. Block out time for training

There will always be an excuse or a reason not to do training – it’s, by default, the lowest-priority thing you’ll face on a purely day-to-day level. But just think about the damage that does over time. 

Here at Wyzowl, we block off half a day per month minimum for training and personal development – and ensure it’s displayed in our group calendar. 

However much you feel you can commit to in your team, and remember, it’s consistency that wins the day here. It’s much better to allocate one day per month over a course of a year, than two days once per year. 

4. Choose the right style of video

As you can see purely from the examples we’ve talked about in this article, there are so many different types of video to choose from. Animated videos, demo videos live action, interactive and plenty more.

Even within those umbrellas, there are so many creative and stylistic decisions to make about the best way to communicate your message and make it stick with your employees. 

There’s no silver bullet or quickfire way to make these decisions: our only advice is to take your time, do your research and – if you’re unsure – make sure to speak to an expert.

5. Track, track, track

Providing the right content is a significant part of the battle – but it won’t win you the war!

It’s also important to keep track of what training is happening in the business – and, crucially, how effective it’s being. There are lots of different ways to track not only how training is being received and digested by your employees, but also how that’s translating into an enhanced customer service experience at the ground level.

Digital businesses might consider using online surveys – tools like SurveyMonkey offer customer service/experience surveys as a template.

Physical/retail stores might consider using feedback buttons – like the ones seen below – which are a quick and easy way for customers to flag good, bad or indifferent experiences, driving insight you’d usually miss out on.

(Image: pushmybutton.co.nz)

Survey and speak to your team, too, in regularly scheduled catchups: encourage an open, honest culture where they can talk to yourself, and each other, about the situations they find difficult. This can help guide future learning videos you create. 

And then, tracking to make sure training is working for your team – and driving the customer experience forward – you’ll know that you’re definitely moving in the right direction!

Thanks for reading

It doesn’t matter what niche, industry or sector you’re operating in – customer service is, without doubt, one of the keys to success. 

By investing in video as a customer service training tool, you’re equipping your business with one of the most versatile, flexible and long-term-valuable content types: and giving yourself the best chance of customer retention, loyalty and brand advocacy into the future.
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