Training is a Key Component to Driving Customer Loyalty
When you want to improve the customer experience, it’s inevitable that you focus on just that: the customer experience. The first considerations that spring to mind are the most obvious: listening to customer feedback, working to personalise your communications with them, investing time and attention and money into rewarding loyalty and ensuring your product range/services reflect their expectations.
We are not here to tell you that those factors shouldn’t spring to mind first – not least of all because we’re pretty vocal about their centrality to boosting B2B retention – but we are here to widen the frame a little bit, and make sure you’re taking the full picture into account.
Your employees are your business’s personality. They are the vibe, the life and soul, and the very face you show to the world. It only stands to reason, then, that one of the most significant factors determining the customers’ experiences is your workforce.
Without training, you’re lacking confidence or knowledge… or both
Let’s say you’re starting a new job as a salesperson. You’re selling things – it doesn’t matter what. You know vaguely what these things are – what they do, who they’re targeted towards, and what bullet points you should memorise to get a relatively good success rate as selling these things. You know the basics, but no more than that.
You’re facing one of two outcomes, neither which are good for you, for the customer, or for your boss at the thing factory. Either you’re going to bumble through a sales pitch, aware that you’re bumbling, or you’re going to bumble through a sales pitch, thinking you’re excelling.
In either case, you’re bumbling. Even if you can’t tell, the customer probably will.
The same goes for any scenario where you’re trying to build a relationship with a customer, and not just a sales environment.
With training, an employer can boost confidence and knowledge all at the same time. The result? A better sales pitch, yes, but also space – space for them to add personality, be more enthusiastic, and more genuine with prospective and returning customers.
With training, you create space for personalised experiences
Let’s go back to that bullet-pointed list of salient points that the boss at the thing factory is handing out to new recruits. It’s, what, five pages long? We don’t know – we don’t even know what the thing is.
Regardless, you’ve got a pamphlet and your task is to memorise it. You read it once, twice – over and over again. By the time you’re ready to go out onto the sales floor, your head is full of points – points that are running into one another, getting muddled and confused, and you’re tripping over your own words trying to get them out before you forget anything.
There is absolutely no space left in your brain for passion, enthusiasm, or creating an emotional connection with the customer through a personable and memorable encounter.
We mentioned how training boosts confidence as well as knowledge, and this is vital. You want your employees and resellers to be able to personalise their approach, or their encounters with customers will be emotionless and run-of-the-mill. The best customer incentive is emotional resonance – a big topic in and of itself, but one that starts with the experience you offer.
Without training, your employees are lacking a real show of personal investment
The strength of your training always filters down to the customer’s experience, but it’s not always directly about the customer.
Loyalty doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and if you’re looking to generate customer loyalty then you’re far better off approaching the concept of loyalty from the entire channel – and that can easily start with your employees.
Loyal employees and resellers are more enthusiastic; they’re recognised, incentivised, able to uphold your values. In turn, this also translates to a stronger customer experience. Do you think the better experience will be found with one of the 65% of employees who think they could find a better position elsewhere, or an employee who is confident that the person steering the ship is invested in their personal and professional progression, and routinely recognising and rewarding strong performances?
If you’re not making a concerted effort to boost training, your employees will feel that gap.
With training, your employees can understand your customers
Training isn’t just about understanding the company, its products and services, and the face it needs to present to the world. Just as that 5-page bullet-pointed list about things wouldn’t cut it with customers, you can’t dictate everything your employees say and do and hope to offer customers the best (and most emotionally resonant) experiences possible.
In order to create those emotional connections with customers, employees and resellers have to understand who they’re talking to. Training creates the parameters, but knowledge and confidence to move around freely within those parameters.
Did you know that, according to some sources, only 13% of B2B customers believe salespeople can really understand their needs? Understanding the customer is an intrinsic part of offering a strong, valuable experience – and, in turn, generating loyalty – so being able to instil the understanding that training is absolutely key.