By Kathy Sisk
Every manager knows it’s crucial to expand employees’ knowledge and skills. Call center agents need ongoing training to improve competency, achieve quality performance, and deliver excellent service. Plus, system changes, product launches, and process improvement all require training.
However, programs need careful planning to maximize the training time, minimize costs, and make a good return on investment. Therefore, efficient training is important. Consider the following:
Assess Training Programs Thoroughly: A common mistake is to implement a training program without first determining the needs of agents. For example, sales training isn’t the solution to low-close ratios if agents don’t believe in the product. In this case focus on improving the agents’ morale now and invest in sales training later.
Consider Coaching: Efficient training doesn’t have to be stringent. Regular agent coaching sessions may be enough to address needs and improve performance. Provide relevant advice that agents can use to deal with callers. Informal interactions are an effective form of communication and a big help in enhancing agents’ product understanding.
Agents have different strengths and weaknesses. You can enhance their performance if you don’t focus on just one area; provide training that develops and sharpens a variety of skill sets.
Determine the Appropriate Training Method: These days the most popular forms of training are e-learning and classroom sessions. Pick the approach that most effectively achieves your goals. Each has pros and cons, so choose the method that optimizes time and cost.
- Classroom sessions are more expensive because it requires you to pull agents from the floor and increase staff hours to cover their work. You may incur additional costs such as meeting room space or printing materials. However, classroom sessions excel in teaching soft skills, such as sales and customer service enhancements.
- E-learning is cost-effective and convenient. Agents learn at their own pace, and scheduling is easier. E-learning sessions are typically shorter than classroom sessions and are effective for product and process knowledge training.
Design Programs That Support Your Goals: First set training objectives, and then develop programs to achieve them. For example, to focus on call resolution, training should enhance agents’ ability to ask the right questions, solve problems, and improve product knowledge.
Invest wisely in training to maximize results.
Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc. has forty years of experience providing call center set up, reengineering, assessments, training, script development, and project management services to centers globally.