Customer service is not a straightforward science of causes and effects. It does not rely on manuals and scripts for successful completion; rather, it is based on real-life situations and ever-changing circumstances. Many companies would like to improve customer service, and the proper way to do so is through improving agents, not processes. Therefore, the theory behind good customer service needs to be put into practice through a series of exercises and interactions. These exercises should enable customer service agents to be responsive to emotion-based customer expectations. At the same time, the agents improve and broaden their own interpersonal skills for a more positive interaction experience.
About the L.A.K.E. Concept
The L.A.K.E. abbreviation stands for: language, attitude, knowledge and effort. In the often complex and stressful performance of customer service, the L.A.K.E. acronym identifies the four key areas of value that should be the focus of customer service exercises and interactions. Agents who use proper language, maintain positive attitudes, possess sufficient knowledge about their brand and products, and apply adequate effort to achieve results are more capable of delivering a high level of customer service performance.
The ability to listen and communicate is at the heart of customer service delivery. There is always room for improvement in the field of communication. Agents’ listening and speaking skills can be enhanced through exercises and interactions. The exercises are designed to develop active listening skills to keep the customer engaged, such as maintaining eye contact, polite nods of the head, asking relevant questions, etc. Agents also learn the importance of remembering their customer’s name and using it whenever applicable.
The goal of speaking exercises is to develop not just clear and accurate language use but also non-verbal skills to encourage dialogue. Language exercises and personal interactions are designed to improve verbal and non-verbal communication in different channels, such as face-to-face interactions, telephone conversation, email, and more.
It is crucial for agents to connect with their customers on a personal level through more meaningful interactions. Language training is therefore intertwined with methods of developing and nurturing a positive attitude.
Maintaining and displaying a positive attitude is a skill that can be learned. Having a positive attitude involves a combination of friendliness, professionalism, self-control, creativity, confidence, and an overall optimistic emotional state. Customer service agents develop these traits through constructive exercises and interactions.
One of the main focuses of atitude training is the proper use of language and key-phrases. Agents learn to replace commonly used phrases with more positive alternatives. For instance, the front-line staff are encouraged to say “Yes” rather than “No”, “I will find out” in place of “I don’t know”, and “I apologize” instead of “Calm down”. By using affirmative language and avoiding negative statements, agents display a positive attitude toward their customers.
When it comes to dealing with disgruntled customers and “ridiculous” complaints, agents must learn to employ self-control. The self-control training uses role-playing to assess and modify agents’ behaviors in uncomfortable situations. The front-line staff are exercised to expect stressful circumstances and get comfortable with discomfort. Finally, it is important that agents put themselves in the customers’ shoes in specific staged scenarios to acquire a deeper understanding of the customers’ needs.
Among other things, customer service agents must gain insights into the brand they represent. They should be made familiar with the products, services, and promises that are made in the course of company marketing to better understand customer issues. Agents are trained to use this knowledge within the context of branded conversations and role-playing scenarios.
Through a series of select exercises and interactions, the agents are encouraged to demonstrate their brand knowledge and service competence by answering potential client questions and responding to requests. The acquired skills help them build confidence and maintain a high level of professionalism in conversations with clients.
Quality frontline staff will always go above and beyond requirements in order to satisfy their clients. Agents are trained to exceed client expectations of company support. They exercise methods of accomplishing this through a variety of staged scenarios. The exercises and interactions are focused on the principle of satisfying customers through under-promising and over-delivering. Agents also practice various methods for following up on their interactions and encouraging feedback from customers. A customer relationship based on trust is a rewarding objective that requires initiative on the part of the agent. The best customer service agents are those that are always trying to do better.
To sum up, reliance on guides and scripts is rarely adequate when communicating with clients. Excellent levels of service are based on the understanding of customer expectations and their individual emotions. Successful customer service requires employees trained in the fundamentals of the L.A.K.E. concept: language, attitude, knowledge, and effort. Each of these customer service aspects are essential to dealing with customers and satisfying their needs in various scenarios.
Agents must therefore embody the core principles of the L.A.K.E. concept and experience them in practice through real-life exercises and interactions. Lectures on theoretical concepts have little practical value if agents are unable to apply them to individual circumstances. Properly trained agents with heightened interpersonal skills will be far more effective at satisfying customers and conveying the company’s brand value.
We have developed a series of diverse exercises and interactions for improving your agents’ customer service delivery. These exercises are specifically designed to address the key areas expressed in the L.A.K.E. concept. They encompass not just the development of interpersonal skills but also the realization of emotion-based customer service.
Our practical training methods provide agents with tools that apply to every situation regarding customer service. The exercises and interactions are designed for both new employees and experienced customer service agents. The result of our training is emotionally intelligent front-line staff with excellent knowledge of their brand. We are therefore highly focused on creating agents who can handle pressure, display a positive attitude and maintain customer satisfaction in all circumstances.