Jeff Toister is the author of Service Failure: The Real Reasons Employees Struggle with Customer Service and What You Can Do About It. His company, Toister Performance Solutions, Inc. helps clients identify the obstacles keeping them from achieving customer service success.
Jeff recently launched his new customer service video training series with lynda.com, and I took an opportunity to catch up with him and to learn more about the new training.
What inspired you to create this video series?
There are a few reasons.
First, the training course was produced by lynda.com, which is a fabulous online library of video-based training programs. A lot of my clients and colleagues are using them already, so it made a lot of sense to provide content on a platform they were already using. The second reason is video-based training is on the rise. I’m hearing more and more companies ask for this option because it’s engaging, consistent, and flexible.
The final reason is something called “flipped learning.” Traditionally, clients hire people like me to come in and do training, but they’d try to implement the concepts on their own. With flipped learning, employees take my course on lynda.com before I come in and then hire me to help them use those new skills to get results. This means they get better results for their investment.
How does this video series differ from your usual workshops and trainings?
One of the ways that lynda.com makes their courses effective is by breaking them into small modules that are typically 3 to 5 minutes long. My usual workshops are designed to be delivered in segments that are one hour to two days, but people taking my Customer Service Fundamentals course have the option of just watching a module or two at a time. Each module has specific suggestions, pointers, and exercises, so you could watch a short segment, try out some new skills with your customers, and then come back and watch the next segment.
The other nice thing about video is you can go back and watch a specific module if you wanted to review a particular concept. That’s a big advantage over live training.
One thing I noticed immediately was the production quality of the videos. What was it like working with Lynda.com?
They’re awesome. Everything they do is very professional. I spent a week filming the course at their studios in Carpenteria, California. It was a fun experience. My scenes were filmed in a green screen studio and then the editors put in the graphics and live action scenes. Their facilities are first-rate and everyone involved in the course was outstanding. My previous video experience had been fairly limited, so I was surprised to learn about all the tricks they have up their sleeves to make people like me look good on camera.
Whom is the series targeted towards?
The primary target audience is customer service teams in larger companies, but I was careful to include examples from a wide variety of industries so it would appeal to a large audience. I think anyone in customer service can benefit from the course.
You mention workbooks and exercise files on the public course page. Please tell our readers a bit about the structure of the course. How fast do you recommend someone work through the material?
The modules are typically only 3 to 5 minutes each, so each one focuses on a specific technique or concept. They all have exercises that participants can try on their own to help develop their skills. Many of these modules also have downloadable worksheets that can be used to help with the exercises. In this way, the worksheets are very much like the workbook you might receive if you attended a live training class.
Participants should definitely take the class at their own pace, though I wouldn’t recommend viewing the entire class all at once. One strategy would be to watch a few modules at a time and then try to implement the concepts from each one before going back to watch a few more modules. More advanced customer service professionals may want to scan the table of contents and pick and choose the modules that are most relevant to their individual needs.
What value will viewers take away from the series? How will they be better customer-facing professionals at the end of the course?
This course focuses on the fundamental skills necessary to create great relationships with customers, go the extra mile, and solve problems. All of the techniques shared are proven to make a positive difference in serving customers, so people who watch the class and then implement the skills should be able to serve their customers at a higher level.
I think more advanced customer service professionals have a lot to gain from the course too. The class covers the basics, but it also reveals a lot of the challenges that make it difficult to deliver great service on a consistent basis. When your skill level is already at a high level, it’s going to be small adjustments that take your service levels even higher.
Please give our readers a taste of the content. What is an example of an actionable takeaway someone would learn in one of the course modules?
One of my favorite concepts is called the attitude anchor. It can sometimes be difficult to maintain a positive and friendly attitude, but an attitude anchor can help you anchor your attitude in a positive place. The Attitude Anchor module in the Customer Service Fundamentals course shows learners how to identify their own attitude anchors. These can be used to help maintain a consistently positive attitude or to repair a bad attitude if you’re having a bad day.
Finally, if someone is interested in the course, how can they sign up?
A lynda.com subscription is required to view the course, but a subscription will also give you access to lynda.com’s entire training library. They have a really impressive collection of courses that’s rapidly growing. Your readers can sign up for a complimentary 7-day trial subscription if they go to www.lynda.com/trial/JeffToister.
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer’s Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.