Product knowledge is a vital skill each customer support agent and sales manager should have. It means that an employee is highly knowledgeable about the product features and can clearly explain its benefits to a customer.

In this article, we'll consider the importance of this skill, review its benefits and types, and provide some tips to increase the product knowledge of your staff.

Why is it important to have product knowledge?

To answer this question, recall any situation when you contacted a company's sales department or customer support team. You've definitely wanted these people to help you with a problem or buy something. Would you buy their product if they failed to present its benefits to you? Most probably no.

If an employee doesn't understand how the product of their company helps solve this or that problem, they won't be able to consult clients appropriately. Hence, they'll fail to persuade them to buy. Product knowledge helps turn your staff into enthusiastic experts who know how and whom to sell your product.

Let's take a closer look at the advantages your company can reap if your employees have product knowledge.

Product Knowledge Benefits

Despite the fact that some benefits are intangible, in the long run, they have a huge impact on your brand reputation. So, look below.

  • Gives your employees confidence. Each customer care agent and the sales rep is afraid of not finding an answer to a customer's question. So, learning your product from A to Z makes them experts which provides them with super enthusiasm and confidence when dealing with clients.
  • Helps employees better handle objections. It doesn't matter what is the subject of customers' objections — price or product quality. If they are aware of the situation on the market and competitor's products, they will manage to explain why your product is the best choice.
  • Allows employees to analyze the competition. As it follows from the previous paragraph, understanding your competitors is very important since it allows you to realize how your product outperforms your competitor's one — whether in terms of pricing, quality, its target audience, or the core value. As a result, your staff will be competent enough to explain these issues to clients.
  • Provides your employees with excellent communication skills. Knowing all the peculiarities of your product, your staff can adapt to every situation without following the sales script since this knowledge allows them to combine several techniques and choose the best one for this or that client.
  • Boosts sales. Having a full understanding of your product lets your staff effectively communicate with customers, present the benefits of your products the way your clients need them. Hence, this approach turns into a customer-oriented one which helps increase sales.
  • Improves customer retention. If your clients get the necessary help and receive the answers once they need them, they won't change the provider since it's a stressful task. Furthermore, each business knows that it is simpler to retain clients than to acquire new ones.

Now that you know the benefits of having product knowledge, it’s time to consider its types.

Product Knowledge Types

There are several types of product knowledge each employee should have. Check them out below.

  1. Customer. This type of knowledge allows your sales reps to analyze the needs and wants of your clients to offer them the best solution.
  2. Competition. With the information about your competitors’ products, your staff can explain why your goods beat their solutions in terms of price, quality, or value.
  3. Industry. This type of knowledge means that an employee should be aware of the latest trends of the industry and be able to speak the same language as other professionals.
  4. Brand. Employees should understand the positioning of your brand, its mission and vision. This knowledge will help them move towards achieving your global goal.
  5. Customer experience. Having data about user experience makes it possible to adapt to different segments of your target audience, take into account their previous experience of using your product, and improve customer support.
  6. Complementary products. These goods support the main product, very often they bring little to nothing value alone. For example, a case for a mobile device, petrol for cars, bullets for guns. If your staff is very knowledgeable about complementary products, they can provide the best user experience.
  7. Use. We’ll also include configuration, customization, and specifications in this category since all these terms are focused on the effective use of a product. Your staff should know how to install your product and be aware of different product uses.
  8. Troubleshooting. The name speaks for itself. Your customer support agents need to know how to explain to users how to fix their problems both online and offline.
  9. Policies and procedures. This type of knowledge requires employees to be fully aware of exchange, warranty and refund policies.

These are the main types of product knowledge since everything depends on your type of business. In the next section, we’ll share the tips that will help you improve the product knowledge of your team.

How to improve product knowledge?

We’ll provide some recommendations that will help both effectively educate your new hires and increase sales.

  1. Let your new employees solve particular problems. Certainly, you can use the opposite approach — teach your newcomers how to solve as many issues as possible. The only problem is that this way they won’t think, they will passively absorb information which is worse since people remember experiences better. Give them problem-solving tasks, some time, and ask how they could cope with them from the customer’s point of view. This will develop both logical and creative thinking as well as let them test your product on their own.
  2. Let them find the necessary answers by themselves. Ask your new hires to look through your entire site including resources and knowledge base to find the necessary information. It will take more time but they will remember this forever since they have to experience this on their own. Besides, this way you’ll get useful insights on how to structure all your information logically.
  3. Assess the knowledge of your staff regularly. This will help you keep them on their toes and refresh their knowledge from time to time. Give them a test where they need to answer. Avoid multiple choice tests. Add questions that include your rarely asked questions. If you find some gaps in their knowledge, run regular training.
  4. Allow them to find gaps in your knowledge base. Let your staff read your previous chats and call transcripts to look for questions that have no answers in your knowledge base. After that, ask them to provide answers to the copywriting team to produce an article.
  5. Stimulate them to sell more. To achieve this goal, your staff should know different uses of the same product as well as its target audience. So, you can create a “Product of the week” contest to reward a sales rep who will sell the most items.

Congrats, now you realize why it’s important to have product knowledge, and have effective tips at hand.

References

  1. This article covers the meaning, importance, and types of product knowledge.
  2. This article explains how to develop product knowledge training for your business.
  3. This article offers 6 best practices for improving product knowledge
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