The world has clearly changed rapidly in many ways during the last decade. However, you mustn’t be led into reckoning that customer service training has faded in relevance during that time. In fact, it could be more vital than ever – especially for the SMEs that, as realbusiness reports, made up 99.9% of the UK’s private sector businesses in 2016. Here are good reasons why investing in this training now, especially if your competitors overlook its worth, could help give you a crucial edge.

Start-ups have soared in number despite economic woes

There has been a lot of economic uncertainty since the credit crunch took hold about a decade ago. However, in this time, SMEs have developed a previously unmatched level of importance – in 2016, they were collectively responsible for £1.8 trillion in turnover, the FSB has indicated. And, while we can all easily reel off lists of global brands from which we regularly buy, these companies’ influence has started to wane as more organic companies have eaten away at their power.

This has been cited as a reason why every year sees an increased number of fresh start-ups. However, this situation means that, for many aspiring entrepreneurs, the marketplace is becoming fairly crowded. This, in turn, means that SMEs should work to gain an edge wherever they can. One of these areas could be that of customer service… but why should this, in particular, be highlighted?

It’s about the application, not just the principles

You might think that you already know the vital ingredients of good customer service. However, while the principles of this service – including efficiency, helpfulness, politeness and honesty – have remained constant, they aren’t always applied as reliably as they should be. Too often, businesses can make high profile blunders in their customer service due to their use of archaic systems.

If you run an SME, you can learn from this by ensuring that your company stays customer-centric and recognises the potential to grow and improve from taking account of feedback. Plus, while big companies often need to feed their beleaguered customers inane and clearly scripted advice, your SME is more likely to have the luxury of being able to attend to customers case-by-case. In-house training delivered by our company can help you to capitalise on this advantage.

The need to look after your Millennial employees

Also worth heeding are the implications of Millennials, many of which could grow to become the lifeblood of your company. Here, we emphasise the word “could”. Inc. contributor Ryan Jenkins notes that 60% of Millennials want training that develops their leadership skills. By providing that training, you could improve your staff retention; 71% of Millennials likely to leave a company in two years are unhappy with the development of their leadership skills.

Jenkins has wisely observed the irony that, while customer service itself has evolved to better cater for Millennials, companies are falling behind with how they train them in customer service. Our customer service training can help you to catch up again.