Leveraging the protégé effect in customer support

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The importance of customer support can never be underestimated. Your agents are at the frontline of your business, and often also the last person your customers interact with after a sale is made or when they have issues with your services. Customer support agents are the ones handling your company’s reputation, and the satisfaction of a customer is almost solely in their hands.  

With so many products and services offered by companies around the world, the customer experience can either be your advantage or your pitfall. It is the experience, after all, that makes your customers either come back or leave for good.  

With your customers’ happiness in their hands, adequate training and proper tools are vital. Leveraging these tools and technologies ensures that your agents remain confident in their abilities and skills and this will take you far. 

On top of that, there is the protégé effect, the effect of learning from others and harnessing the power of peer interaction, which cannot be overlooked. But how exactly can you use it to your advantage? 

What is the protégé effect?

In a nutshell, the protégé effect is the idea of learning by teaching others. When you’re focusing on explaining a matter to another person, you often structure your thoughts in a way in which you gain a deeper knowledge of the subject matter.  

While teaching, you’re constantly evaluating the information and extracting key points in a way that makes it easier for you to recall the same points in the future. Thus, you’re also learning the subject better yourself while teaching.

We call this the “Teachable agent”.  

How to use tools and the protégé effect to your advantage

In this context, tools are ways to improve your customer support. They are not only limited to technologies – we’re talking about agent training, coaching, and performance development. These are the tools that help agents assist customers in ways that will wow them. 

Training and coaching will enable the agents to confidently assist the customers and create valuable relationships. Only well-trained people, who feel valued and cared for, and have confidence in the tools and the knowledge they’ve gained, can give the A+ customer service you’re looking for. 

Teaching others will quickly reveal gaps in one’s knowledge, build communication skills and help agents truly understand the subject matter at hand. This effect is profound, and many call centers already use it to their advantage.

Learning by teaching benefits all

Harnessing the power of peer interaction and learning after initial training can give you the edge that you need. Not only is this important for an organization looking to become a learning company, but the customer service benefits are also massive.

One recommendable practice, for instance, is to utilize agents, who you know handle contacts the way you would want others to handle them. Let them teach others and share their best practices. This is a quick and easy way to spread good practice to everyone and ensure uniform quality in customer encounters. 

When all support agents can clearly, concisely, and, confidently explain even difficult matters, both the customer and the agent are satisfied. Moreover, customers will feel more confident that they’re speaking to an expert. As a result, inherent customer value is being created. 

In conclusion, humans are a company’s greatest asset. Strong teaching, mentoring and leveraging peer interaction and the protégé effect will help your employees in many ways. They will feel confident, empowered, and cared for. A support agent is at the frontline of your business, so taking care of them will also help you take care of your customers.

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Ville Mikkonen

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