The contact center landscape is always evolving. As soon as new contact channels develop, customer preferences change. Efficiently overcoming and responding to these changes requires a solid foundation of basic call center training and agent development.
Agent development initiatives are crucial to help reps adapt to the dramatic shifts in technology and customer expectations currently taking place. Customer support leaders are also noting the importance of these initiatives, as seen in a study by Customer Contact Week. In an effort to empower call center agents, leaders are investing in training, coaching, learning management, and more.
Call Center Training Ideas
Modern technologies such as skill-based routing (SDR) and interactive voice response (IVR) have made contact centers more efficient, but training still lags behind. CCW reports that 89% of call center leaders believe that training should be a top strategic focus for the next year in order to better serve customers. Investing in call center agent training empowers agents, improves efficiency metrics, and positively impacts the bottom line of your business.
While training is important across every industry, it is often seen as boring, tedious, and unproductive—which results in wasted time and frustrated employees. Companies that invest time and effort into forward-thinking training and dynamic learning processes see higher agent engagement and less turnover compared to companies that don’t. Here’s a few steps to get started:
Create a Plan
A great training plan fuels business success, but sometimes it’s tricky to know where to start. To combat this issue, resources and templates help leaders create a call center training program that works best for their employees. This plan doesn’t need to be perfect—It’s more important to get started and keep it simple. Training plans should focus on the core functions of call center agents, and what it will take for them to learn, practice and perform in their roles.
Build a Manual
From evaluating your current process to creating a new and improved one, a call center training manual helps companies invest in training in the most impactful way possible. Organizations that develop a training policy—and stick to it—manage training and customer service more efficiently. Looking for a place to start with your training manual? Consider how your organization defines service, who your customers are, and what a friendly agent looks like.
Focus on Coaching
When it comes to agent development and call center training best practices, 86% of contact center leaders say that one-on-one coaching is still a top priority. Not only does this interactive process help agents improve their skills and take their performance to the next level— it also provides almost immediate feedback from a recent interaction. By keeping this two-way interaction as timely and positive as possible, organizations will see coaching make a large impact on agents and increase the chance that they become long-lasting performers.
Train with a Group
Group training also proves to be a beneficial call center training tip. Group work provides an opportunity for agents to learn from and collaborate with their peers to identify key areas for improvement. Group training is often completed by someone in an organizational development role—we think this is a mistake. Consider asking other agents who excel in the role to help lead the group training. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn from someone who has experience with the interactions and tasks that agents complete every day.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Agents can also use call center training conversation scripts to practice mock interactions or address challenging scenarios. By working together to identify the best way to respond in difficult customer interactions, employees feel engaged and empowered and will be more likely to work hard to improve and continue learning. While this is a helpful exercise, it is also important to remind agents that these scripts should be a starting point and that interactions with customers should be conversational, customized, and personable to ensure quality service.
Invest in Tools
A key component to training strategy is streamlining the experience—make it simple and accessible for all call center agents to take part in. While training is important for happy agents, the quality of tools and technology that enable their learning is equally essential. Therefore, CCW states that 76% of contact center leaders plan to prioritize investing in learning management systems over the next two years.
Training isn’t a one and done process, so your training and learning management strategy should allow companies to easily create ongoing and consecutive training. As both contact centers and customer needs change, companies will need to modify and update call center training programs so agents remain equipped to answer questions and deliver exceptional customer service tomorrow—and into the future.
These six steps are just the beginning. Call center leaders neglect training their agents at their own peril. A small, intentional investment in employee development today could pay remarkable dividends in call center productivity and customer loyalty for years to come.
Taking the Next Steps in Learning with Lessonly
Have training on your mind? Lessonly helps call center agents learn, practice, and perform with our online training software. Take a tour today, and see how Lessonly can help your team do better work.