Training Talks—Outsourcing Success: A Chat with Thomas Siebert

At Lessonly, we’ve helped hundreds of teams across the globe learn, practice, and Do Better Work. We found that the best teams examine their training efforts through six key phases: Assess, Plan, Build, Learn, Practice, and Perform. That’s why we decided to create Lessonly’s Better Work Guide to Customer Service Training

In the process of putting together The Better Work Guide, Lessonly’s VP of Marketing, Kyle Lacy talked with Thomas Siebert, Consulting Director at TBS Inc. Consulting. With extensive experience working in large enterprise contact centers, Thomas knows how to successfully partner with a BPO to outsource customer service. See what he has to say about working with third-party providers and why training is always crucial for success. 

Kyle: What are the top considerations when it comes to training programs at contact or support centers?

Thomas: Great question. I have a few thoughts here. First, my general philosophy on training is “so goes training, so goes the rest of the program.” It’s clearly a foundational element of success. If you train well, your team has the opportunity to perform well from a CSAT, quality, and financial perspective (the three points of the performance triangle). If you don’t train well, then you won’t achieve any of those things. No business can consistently overcome poorly delivered or structured training content.

I look at the quality of the trainer, the presentation, and the content. If the content isn’t good, I expect feedback from the training team. It’s also important that this training features both agent onboarding and ongoing training. 

See more customer service insights from Thomas and 15 other industry experts. Check out The Better Work Guide to Customer Service Training.

Kyle: That’s a great point regarding ongoing training. Here at Lessonly, we refer to it as continuous training or blended learning. How have you seen this done in the past in a bad way versus implementing it in a good way?

Thomas: To me, training delivery is one of the biggest challenges. It’s difficult to understand what should be trained versus coached. I’m convinced that there’s so much training that’s wasted because it’s the wrong content delivered in the wrong way. One of the biggest challenges at many BPOs that I’ve worked with is trying to identify what content to offer after the initial training, as well as who should get what training.

For example, I worked in a role that had two centers in the Philippines with approximately 500 agents. The call volume was much smaller but had greater challenges because there were so many tools, websites, languages, and products that had to be supported. The operating team had a difficult time identifying what type of training was required by whom and how it should be delivered. Oftentimes, they would entangle the content because of the number of agents that needed the training. They couldn’t decide what required in-person training with a head trainer versus a simple update at the beginning of a shift through coaching or computer-based training. That’s a critical problem as you only have so many minutes that you’re allowed to train agents. If you get the wrong content to the wrong person delivered with the wrong tool, you’ve lost the agent’s quality of performance.

Kyle: That’s a great point, Thomas. To expand on the topic of BPOs, what are the top two or three things that you would encourage enterprise contact center leaders to think about?

Thomas: Good question, Kyle. One of the first hurdles BPOs need to get over is that “the customer is always right.” There are certain scenarios and situations, especially highly regulated business environments, where this just isn’t true. There are terms and conditions that the third-provider has to follow on behalf of the company they outsource for.

The second piece is to really figure out how to take whatever the customer wants to do and present a few options that they can choose from. This will help them see that you’re trying to assist them in what ways you can. This means that every agent needs to feel empowered to make decisions and offer solutions to the customer.

If you want an empowered team, you need to work hard and smart to create a culture that prioritizes customer advocacy. 

—Thomas Siebert, Consulting Director at TBS Inc. Consulting

Then, you need to keep your frontline agent top of mind. If you’re working with agents in different countries, chances are that English is their second or third language. They haven’t experienced the same type of culture that U.S. based agents have and that can impact their interaction with a customer. So, when you try to help an agent solve a very complex challenge with a product that they’ve probably never used, that’s a problem. Help them understand exactly who the customer is, what the product is, and they’ll be able to identify those potential solutions. Those three things work well on every contact. 

Do Better Work with Lessonly’s Customer Service Training Guide

Customer service matters more than ever. Don’t miss your chance to get insights, best practices, and tangible steps to Do Better Work. Read The Better Work Guide to Customer Service Training and get started today.

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