Utilizing Employee Soft-skills Home Training through the COVID-19 Pandemic

Now more than ever as we navigate times of uncertainty, at home employee soft-skills training will produce long-term positive customer experiences. Are your employees armed with the necessary soft-skills training to deliver exceptional customer experiences?

Many companies are reviewing @ home employee work plans and as you look at the possibilities, one is the opportunity to train your staff’s soft-skills to improve the customer experience.

Often in the past, it may have been difficult to provide your staff with the time to train and provide them with the opportunity to improve their skills.  Much research has shown that employees with soft-skills training significantly improve customer satisfaction, their productivity and lead to long-term customer loyalty. Also, at the same time by improving their soft-skills to effectively deal with customers, especially during these unprecedented times, builds the road to “Trusted Advisor” which is the key component to long term profitability.

Here are four (4) basic training content for any organization:

Customer CARE is the basic employee training for building long-term strong customer relationship skills. Learn the keys to what customers value – drives behavior – causes dissatisfaction. Learning how to become a “Trusted Advisor” NOT “Vendor” is the key to building customer loyalty.

  • Learn about Customer CARE and why customer satisfaction and loyalty are important
  • Understand that effective customer relations is essential to individual and organizational success
  • Understand that Customer CARE is not just the job of the service organization
  • Understand how your job ties into the mission of the company
  • Experiential exercises in understanding your encounters with good and bad Customer CARE
  • Understand the drivers of good and bad Customer CARE
  • Learn how to deliver exceptional service, why customers quit and what they really want
  • Learn how Customer CARE ties directly into bottom-line profitability


Dealing with Difficult Customers provides skills for diffusing heated customer complaints. Teaches customer empathy while providing a resolution to the customer’s irate complaint. Turning a bad situation into a memorable favorable solution is the road to “Trusted Advisor”.

  • Understand why we need to deal with difficult customers
  • Learn why a difficult customer is a precious gift and a great opportunity
  • Understand why customers are difficult and the three levels of customer expectations
  • Understand the qualities of a good and bad listener
  • Understand your listening style and how it meshes with your customers styles
  • Understand the importance of listening and learn how to become a better listener
  • Learn a 5-Step process to successfully deal with difficult customers
  • Learn how to turn that dissatisfied customer into an advocate
  • Learn how to deal with your fellow employees, customers and others to get better results


Problem Solving Skills teaches employees how to use their skill sets to resolve various problem situations. Learn how to ask the right questions, connect problem symptoms and utilize technology to quickly resolve customer issues, again is the road to “Trusted Advisor”.

  • Learn the difference between problem solving and decision making
  • Evaluate situations and determine the correct process
  • Learn the importance of early identification and resolution of problems
  • Learn the importance of gathering and recording the correct information
  • Learn a 10-Step process for Successful Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Know how to formulate and implement problem solving plans
  • Know how to formulate and implement decision making plans
  • Understand how these processes provide a common language and approach that enhances teamwork and provides better results


Time Management teaches skills to increase employee productivity. Customers greatly appreciate those service providers who can resolve multiple issues in a reasonable timeframe. You can add time management to the requirement list to become a “Trusted Advisor”.

  • Definition of Time Management
  • How to prioritize your tasks to be more effective
  • How to manage time and reduce deadline stress
  • Understanding major time wasters and how to deal with them
  • Understand the evolution of time management and the current fourth generation
  • Understand why setting reasonable expectations that can be exceeded is essential
  • Learn techniques to increase your efficiency while improving customer satisfaction


These are four basic soft-skills needed for all organizations. Now is the time to invest in employee engagement that will pay recurring dividends in exceeding customer expectations. Use these unprecedented times to invest in your @ home employees soft-skills training.



Bill Moore Vice President of Employee Engagement
Customer Relationship Management Institute LLC (CRMI)
Telephone: 617 803-1639 | Email: bmoore@crmirewards.com

Master These Omnichannel Management Strategies to Boost Workforce Optimization

CEM and Employee Engagement

With numerous channels at their disposal around the clock, the average customer journey no longer adheres to one predictable path. Thus, as companies evolve to satisfy demand, they have begun to adopt new technologies and strategies that enable them to meet the consumer where they work and play. Whether it’s in-person or online, customer-centric brands constantly work to expand their reach so they can maintain consistency across channels at all times. Yet, while this new normal has set the bar higher, many businesses have yet to grasp these new strategies to their fullest extent.

Leaders understand that their companies must establish a presence along each available avenue on the path to purchase, but many still struggle to achieve workforce optimization in the face of these emerging technologies, as the key to success lies in balancing the needs of both the agents and customers to augment productivity and experience. But, by mastering the four fundamental forms of management—field service, help desk, knowledge, and online community forum—businesses can develop the omnichannel approach they need to bring customer centricity to the next level.

Field Service Management

Despite the popular turn toward digital, many customer service interactions still take place in person. Whether it’s in-stores or in the field, there are some needs that simply can’t be satisfied over the phone or online. Thus, not only do your customer service representatives need to be equipped with the technology necessary to fulfill their duties—access to the customer’s history, for instance, might help them pinpoint any underlying or recurring issues—but they also need to have the proper personnel training. Customer service representatives must have people skills in order to establish and sustain the type of rapport that supports loyalty and retention.

Help Desk Management

Because help desks generally consist of internal operations that assist employees and business partners as they manage their various IT assets, leaders must focus on hiring and training strong employees who are motivated to provide exceptional service every single day. To ensure these employees have the capacity to handle any task, brands must develop an enterprisewide culture that enables representatives to track issues end-to-end so nothing slips through the cracks. It’s increasingly important to provide consistent, personalized support, as customers can easily turn to the competition at any moment. Customer service experiences can make or break these long-term relationships.

Knowledge Management (Self-Service/Remote Support)

Knowledge management acts an umbrella term for the self-service and remote support options modern companies must offer consumers. Because customers are distinctly independent today, they often seek self-service opportunities before they ever engage with representatives. They’d much prefer to solve their issue on their own, if possible. Companies must, therefore, establish the framework and strategies required to develop self-service portals that provide omnichannel access to the information they need to answer their questions and solve their problems. Remote support, of course, remains a byproduct of knowledge management and self-service, as these technologies empower agents to provide seamless service from afar.

Online Community Forum Management

In many cases, consumers turn to one another for assistance when they encounter issues with a particular product or service. Many seek advice from their Twitter followers. Others share their problem on public forums in hope that others will have experienced (and solved) the dilemma. When people pursue this route, it’s often because they couldn’t rectify the issue via the brand’s self-service database.

However, because these inquiries are typically posted on third-party sites, leaders must decide how to intervene. Here, CRMI outlines the questions companies must answer when developing their approach:

  1. Agree on your forum governance model. How involved do you want to be in managing your forum?
  2. Agree on intervention protocols. What kind of comments, questions and issues are going to prompt a facilitator intervention?
  3. Determine intervention procedures. What are your approval processes for releasing intervention content?
  4. Determine intervention responsibilities. Who is your primary facilitator/site manager?
  5. Ensure proper training for facilitator/site manager. Can someone with extensive customer service experience handle the site? Do they need specialist media training?
  6. Ensure community members know rules of engagement. Make sure the moderation rules are appropriate for your forum.

But, before implementing any new technologies and strategies, leaders must take stock of their company’s current state and perform an audit to establish strengths and weaknesses across the enterprise. Leaders must understand where they suffer and where they excel so they can focus on improving specific management techniques. While some companies will require a complete overhaul, many will find they’re already on the road to success. After all, workforce optimization can’t thrive without deliberate, effective strategies to guide service and experience initiatives. When employees are equipped with the tools and training they need to succeed, everyone wins.

Weaving CEM Into the Fabric of an Organization

CEM and Employee Engagement

The overall objective of any customer experience management (CEM) strategy is to evolve your organization’s DNA to the point where it is entirely customer driven. That’s not going to happen without a robust change management program.

CEMDNA Change Management is one approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state where customer experience is not a primary focus to a desired, future state where the customer is central to all decision making. The approach involves implementing organizational processes designed to encourage stakeholders to accept and embrace customer centricity in their business environment. These include:

Management coaching: Senior business leaders can’t just expect managers to suddenly manage differently because of a decree of customer centricity. Managers need to be trained on how to implement CEM within their team, as well as on any related skills. What the training will entail should be based on your CEM strategy and the specific objectives of any related CEM programs.

Benchmarking: Use best practices examples from your existing customer interactions to showcase your preferred future state. This will demonstrate to employees that customer centricity not only is possible, but also is an established, successful approach that savvy employees are already using.

Measurement: Set performance metrics, such as financial results and operational efficiencies, to guide the change efforts. Also create and track goals for leadership commitment and the effectiveness of internal communications related to the CEM change management efforts.

Process tracking: It’s essential to monitor the progress of your CEM change management efforts. This will allow you to see where you’re succeeding, as well as where you’re stalling. In case of the latter, you’ll be able to quickly uncover the cause of the situation and resolve it to allow for continued forward momentum.

Team coaching: Consider external coaching on the job and soft skills needed for customer centricity to be a part of your organizational DNA. But just as important, ensure that managers are trained well enough to provide initial and continued coaching on the skills most important to the CEM transformation and to ongoing customer centricity.

 CEMDNA change management is part of the Act phase—along with corrective action and employee engagement—and one of the 12 of the components that comprise the CEMDNA Playbook Strategy.