Call center training is more important than ever. Today’s consumers have a vast amount of information at their fingertips. A simple or common customer inquiry can be easily and quickly researched online without requiring agent involvement, which means that the issues that do escalate to a customer service representative are increasingly complex and heated.
To meet the needs of customers who are smarter, less patient and have high expectations, call centers need to be at the top of their game. Quality agent training needs to go well beyond the basics, like how to answer a call, record customer information and use the center’s software systems.
An effective call center training program is a continuous process that addresses a wide range of skills and assesses and reinforces capabilities at regular intervals. Modern contact center training encompasses hard and soft skills, like foreign language, cultural sensitivity, compliance, problem-solving and life skills.
Contact center agent training, if implemented correctly, will have a positive impact on every facet of the operation. With the number one expense for call centers being its employees, maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of those employees is the best path to increase profitability.
Well-managed training programs will:
It is more difficult than ever to recruit and retain talented employees within today’s tight labor market, and a robust training program can help upskill new hires that are entering the workforce with a skills gap. Having the resources at the ready to address more foundational workplace readiness gives employers the freedom to consider candidates who lack capabilities that were once considered prerequisites for hiring. Expanding the definition of a qualified candidate can help fill empty seats faster and at a lower employment cost.
Today’s employees demand more from employers. Offering ongoing training, especially training that addresses life skills and improves career prospects, can make employees happier, more productive, and more likely to stick around long-term, thus reducing the cost of regularly recruiting, hiring and training new employees.
The best call center training programs will have a significant impact, but the ultimate value a training program delivers to a business isn’t necessarily easy to quantify, unless you’re able to monitor a set of closely defined metrics and measurable KPIs. Tracking performance to measurable outcomes is essential to understanding where the best training investments can be made.
Focusing on specific skill sets and the needs of individual agents is one of the most important ways to maximize training investment. Modern contact centers often require agents to have in-depth product, customer or technical knowledge in order to handle inquiries from today’s consumers – who are generally more savvy, more skeptical and more demanding than ever before.
Effective agent training must also look beyond the hard skills needed to operate in a call center. Customer service representatives are increasingly in need of soft skills training, such as foreign language, and life skills assistance such as self-confidence, time management and mental health.
There are a number of learning management systems (LMS) that can help manage large training programs, but small call centers don’t have to make a big investment in additional software to maximize call center training ROI.
Tracking employee training time and subject matter against call performance improvement can help understand which programs are most effective – and which ones are not getting the results you need. Don’t be afraid to ditch programs that aren’t engaging employees and that don’t show measurable skill improvement.
Any training program should include some objective measurements to determine whether the learner actually learned anything. Sometimes a simple 5-question quiz at the end of the program can accurately assess whether the learner was paying attention to the content. However, being able to immediately recall course content is not the same as having truly learned something new. Try issuing completion tests 24 or 48 hours after the end of the class to test learning retention.
Some training programs have begun to do away with Q&A assessments entirely, opting instead for practical skills testing. Asking agents to demonstrate new skills through role-playing can provide a much more meaningful measurement of the training program results.
Since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, online learning programs have become more prevalent and more robust than they were even a few years before. Perhaps more importantly, elearning is much more widely embraced by employees and training managers alike.
While not all content can be effectively adapted to online learning, most can be. There are many benefits to offering elearning over in-person learning, including:
Call center elearning programs can offer as much as 90% savings over in-person programs.
Employees can learn more in less time online than in a typical classroom setting.
Employee engagement with learning can be measured at every step, and reports can maximize program effectiveness for your operation.
Online learning can bring together agents in different time zones for synchronized learning and can adapt to stay-at-home orders and changing employee schedules.
Elearning programs can be highly customized, and advanced programs even incorporate artificial intelligence to adapt to learner behavior and respond to skills gaps in real time.
Elearning programs offer opportunities for automation that can greatly decrease management time, such as automatic course assignment, assessments and personalization.
The ability for elearning programs to be offered on-demand can help increase schedule adherence by offering employees productive outlets during downtime.
A robust and well-managed call center training program can increase profitability, improve call quality, maximize employee productivity and alleviate recruiting and hiring pressures. Contact us today to learn more about how Eleveo can improve your contact center operations.