Training Talks—The Customer Service Revolution: A Chat with Sheri Kendall-duPont

At Lessonly, we’ve helped hundreds of teams across the globe learn, practice, and Do Better Work. We found that the best teams examine their training efforts through six key phases: Assess, Plan, Build, Learn, Practice, and Perform. That’s why we decided to create Lessonly’s Better Work Guide to Customer Service Training

In the process of putting together The Better Work Guide, Lessonly’s VP of Marketing, Kyle Lacy talked with training manager, Sheri Kendall-duPont. Her career in education and passion for workplace learning inspires her agents to do their best work and find meaning in the service they provide. See why she believes it’s time for an industry revolution and what it could mean for the future of customer service. 

Kyle: I’d love to talk about the phrase “bringing the human back into the customer experience.” That’s how it’s coined these days, right?

Sheri: Yeah.

Kyle: In my mind, the biggest issue is the metrics that a lot of contact centers and customer service teams follow, like average handle time, don’t lend themselves to the more human aspects. How do you balance traditional metrics with this new idea of WOWing the customers? 

How do you do that in your role, and how do you train people to do it in their roles?

Sheri: First and foremost, we need to have a revolution in the workforce. People really need to understand that they measure the wrong things, and our customers tell us that. So, until leaders are willing to let go of those metrics, it’s up to learning and development to make sure people have what they need to be able to the things we need them to do. We need to make sure we have robust knowledge bases that are easy to search. I’ve seen some really interesting knowledge bases, but they have to be useful. It all comes down to sharing information in a timely and accessible way for your workforce. 

It’s learning and development’s responsibility to give teams everything they need through that whole life cycle. It’s not just new hire training. Instead, we have to make sure that reps have access to information in an efficient and searchable way so they can meet those archaic metrics. That’s the only solution until a revolution happens. Because you’re right, you can’t tell an agent, “You have six minutes on this phone call and if you don’t make that six minutes, then we’re going to ding you.” Not only does that ding not feel good, but it impacts promotions. It causes agents to be focused on those six minutes, not the connection with the customer. Businesses have to realize that metrics, like call times, will not impact their bottom line. 

Kyle: I completely agree. This is a good segue into looking towards the future. Where do you see the world of customer service going in five to ten years? I’d love to know what you think.

Sheri: Well, I think the metrics are going to change. AI allows us to solve the easy problems, which means humans get more complex questions.

I think that will make the role more meaningful and interesting so people will actually see customer service as a career they’re excited about.

Historically, it’s been a place that you stop on your way to somewhere else and that means we have to create roles that have advancement opportunities.

I just read an article about a company that’s created pod-like spaces for its customer service team. Instead of siloing their agents in rows, they have these spots where they’re on a team. It allows them to talk to each other and work with one another. They help each other solve problems and they’re actually retaining more people because of it. 

It’s fascinating because they’re doing all the things we’ve been told we can’t do in contact centers, and they’re making it work. They created this career path where people want to join and they want to stay, and I think that’s one of the biggest changes we’re going to see.

Do Better Work with Lessonly’s Customer Service Training Guide

It’s time to rethink your customer service training program. Don’t miss the chance to get insights, best practices, and tangible steps to Do Better Work. Read The Better Work Guide to Customer Service Training and get started today.

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