Have you ever experienced that feeling when you encounter a new piece of information that completely shifts your understanding of the world around you? Whether it’s a great book, an enlightening movie or a blog post with a fresh perspective you’d never considered, those moments are at the core of all great learning experiences.
As a manager or trainer of a customer service team, you’ll know that excellent customer service teams aren’t born that way. Learning and training are at the heart of teams who are united in vision, strive for excellence and deliver the best customer experiences. And when training your team to become the best, excellent training materials are essential to help your team experience those paradigm shifts that fuel greater understanding of your customer.
As a seasoned customer service trainer of more than ten years, videos are an essential part of my ‘training toolkit’ that helps me achieve powerful learning outcomes. Here are the reasons why.
Firstly, people learn in different ways. The VAK Learning Model says that people typically have a preference for learning in one of three different ways – visual, auditory or kinesthetic. Adding video to your training sessions helps cater to visual learning preferences and creates an approach to learning that blends different types of media to create effective learning experiences. Secondly, Pictorial Superiority Effect means that using pictures and words together promotes greater information recall – helping you get maximum retention and engagement through your learning content.
We’re all lucky to live in an age where video is accessible and easy to implement in a learning setting. YouTube is a fantastic resource, with so many different videos that can be used to demonstrate customer service concepts. But it can be challenging to find genuinely great videos that give ‘mic drop’ moments in training sessions, and don’t come across as patronizing or irrelevant.
I’d like to share some customer service training videos I’ve used to create “wow” learning moments. You’ll notice I’ve steered away from using videos from industry greats and thought leaders, and have stuck to videos that are accessible and relatable to everyone. I’ve also avoided using the same customer service training videos that have already been repeatedly shared in other articles, and have just used videos from my experience that I have found personally effective.
So without further ado, let’s jump in!
Context & Assumptions with the Two Ronnies – Fork Handles
As a Brit, I grew up with the comedy of the Two Ronnies on TV. This is a classic clip to demonstrate the impact of context on customer service communications. In this video, the customer and shopkeeper grapple with one misunderstanding after another when the shopkeeper assumes he knows what the customer wants. Mistaking “Four candles” for “Fork handles” is just one error in a conversation rife with confusion and misunderstanding.
Successful communication relies on ensuring that you share the same context and understanding as the customer, and checking this where you’re not sure – avoiding assumptions that make communication difficult. This is an especially great video for teams who struggle with translating corporate jargon to customers, and it’s an excellent reminder for all of the importance of checking and questioning in customer service communications.
Deceptive Intuition with the Monkey Business Illusion
This video is a great way to demonstrate the results of a well-known study on selective attention. Ask your team to watch the video and count how many times the ball is passed from one participant to the next. At the end of the video, ask the team for their answers. Then, ask if they noticed the gorilla. About 50% of the time, individuals will miss the gorilla entirely. Rewind the video to show them that it was there all along!
Intuition can be a fantastic tool to help us troubleshoot issues and get to the root of problems quickly. But what happens when your intuition is faulty? Customer service agents need to be aware that when they assume they know what the answer to a customer’s problem is, they could be incorrect – and the right answer might have been staring them in the face all along.
Content in Communication – Sounding Smart with Will Stephen
This fantastic video features TEDx Talk presenter Will Stephen saying absolutely nothing. He uses presentation skills to sound eloquent and persuasive without actually imparting anything useful on any topic.
There’s a lot of different reasons why you might want to show this to your team. It might be that you want to show how Will uses tone, body language and visual aids to create particular impressions – demonstrating the power of these facets of communication. Or, you might want to warn your team of the dangers of saying an awful lot when that speech doesn’t contain much that’s useful to your customer. Either way, this video gives a great insight into how the way you present your message impacts on its persuasiveness, and should be a required watch for all customer service teams.
Empathy with the Cleveland Clinic
I was on the fence about including this video. It’s very emotive – so much so that you might find training participants are moved to tears while watching. Because of this, it’s your call to decide whether it’s appropriate to show your team this video. I’ve used this with teams I know well, with a warning that the video is a tear-jerker, because it’s so useful for demonstrating what empathy is and creating great discussion about how to handle empathy in a professional setting.
This video, created by the Cleveland Clinic in the United States, shows different hospital patients grappling with different life events. It’s a powerful reminder that everyone has their issues, whether they’re hidden or visible – and that goes for us, as well as for our customers.
You can shape post-video discussion in a few ways, asking your group questions like: How can we ensure we’re reacting to customers empathetically without reacting emotionally? When is an affective or cognitive empathy response most effective? How can an empathetic mindset improve interactions with customers who are upset or angry?
Sympathy and Empathy with Brené Brown
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This video is terrific to demonstrate the differences between sympathy and empathy, and it’s another one that provides a lot of thought-provoking ideas for your group to explore when discussing appropriate empathetic responses to customers.
Brené Brown shows the differences between empathetic responses, which are rooted in true perspective-taking, versus sympathetic responses, which usually don’t put the sympathizer in the other person’s shoes. It’s an excellent video to begin discussing the differences between sympathy, empathy (and apathy), and exploring what responses are appropriate in your business setting. This isn’t such a heavy-hitting video as the last, so I’ve used this before for teams I don’t know so well to provide a more comfortable way to explore the concept of empathy.
Body Language, Facial Expression and Nonverbal Cues with “Friends”
Although this video is perfect for teams who deal face to face with customers, it’s also really useful for digital teams. Here, the cast of “Friends” demonstrates how much of the impact of communication is carried in nonverbal expression, to hilarious effect. Relevant questions to ask your group after viewing include: How can we modulate and control our nonverbal communication to ensure our messages are received clearly and unambiguously? How can teams who rely purely on text strengthen their responses to ensure the right message is communicated?
Plus, it’s a fun video for multigenerational teams to watch – from those who knew and loved Friends when it was originally on TV, to your younger staff who might not know it was ever a ‘thing.’
Fun in the Workplace with WGN-TV Anchors Robert Jordan and Jackie Bange
Happy, engaged employees create better customer experiences. However, many initiatives aimed at encouraging positive attitudes at work can fall flat. Videos featuring attitudinal initiatives such as the Fish! Philosophy sound great, but can come across as arrogant or even lacking in understanding of employees with mental health issues.
As a manager or trainer you can encourage the kind of playfulness that keeps work enjoyable. This video from WGN-TV Anchors Robert Jordan and Jackie Bange shows their ‘commercial break handshake’ in action and is a nice way to promote having fun at work.
Email Faux Pas with Tripp and Tyler
Email is a brilliant medium for customer communications, as long as it’s done right. Comedy sketch duo Tripp and Tyler show how actions over email would play out in a face to face context, taking email norms such as auto-responses, CC’ing the entire office, caps lock and email signatures, and putting them in a real-life context.
This is a great video to start a discussion about proper email etiquette in interactions with customers or with each other. It also brings up questions about the appropriateness of particular communication methods.
Listening Skills with The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon
Sheldon from Big Bang Theory isn’t the best or most empathetic communicator. Here, you can show your group some of the hallmarks of bad listening and ask some questions to help the group explore what that looks like. What did Sheldon do? What didn’t he do? What caused this? What was the impact? Where in work do we see these behaviors (or lack of them)?
This video is ideally finished off by exploring the Five Levels of Listening. You can then use the model to ask the group to define what levels of listening Sheldon uses, what we tend to use, and how we can ensure we listen at higher levels.
Communicating Instructions with Origami Frogs
On its own, this video doesn’t seem to have any clear link to customer service principles. But used as part of a fun training activity, it’s a great way to explore how to clearly communicate instructions and troubleshooting steps to customers.
Divide your group into three and give all participants a sheet of origami paper. For the first group, show them this video and ask them to replicate the frog. For the second group, give them a copy of these diagrammatic instructions and ask them to do the same. For the last group, verbally walk them through how to create a frog, giving verbal instructions like “fold the paper down the middle” – however, don’t actually show them what to do.
At the end, ask the group about their experiences with each method. What problems did they encounter? What type of visuals helped the most? What parallels are there in our troubleshooting processes? How can we use what we’ve learned from this experience to ensure customers can clearly understand the steps we guide them through?
Once you’re finished, the group will also have some fun jumping frogs to play with throughout the rest of training!
I hope you enjoy looking at these videos and thinking about how they could benefit your team. Incorporating mixed multimedia in your customer service training strategy to help illustrate particular customer service concepts can help shed light on different perspectives and paint a better picture of your customer. This deeper understanding will ensure your team delivers world-class customer experiences.
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