By Kathy Sisk
In the last issue we discussed telemarketing program expectations, the list, and reporting when setting up and managing a campaign. Part three is about the importance of properly assessing and preparing agents for training before the start of the campaign.
Carefully selecting the attributes of the campaign with the agents is an essential aspect of overall success. Identify this up front during your agent selection process. The best time to assess agents is before you hire them. Assessment tools should be in place to select the right agents prior to investing time and money into training them.
After assessing telemarketing agents to find the right ones, continue to assess them during the basic training (soft skills), simulation (role-play), and applied training (live calling) phases of their preparation. Not all agents will pass the basic training, and not all agents will pass the simulation training. Furthermore, it’s essential to select the right agents for the applied training phase. This is where they will represent the client to prospects.
Poorly trained agents are one of the quickest ways for a campaign to fail. Sometimes a program starts without asking for adequate training from the client or assigned project manager. Another issue is the call center replacing an agent during the program but failing to give them adequate training.
However, too much training on product knowledge can hinder the agent from performing well. Also, too much information may intimidate agents if they feel they can’t learn all the details.
It’s best to segment training at a pace where agents feel confident enough to present it using the call guide (the script). Once an agent can confidently go through the call guide, your focus should shift to the delivery quality of the presentation. Then you can train agents how to branch off the script whenever necessary. This is a vital part of the delivery process.
Be sure to assign the right agents to the campaign. Not all campaigns are alike, and neither are all agents. Some campaigns need a more assertive agent as opposed to other campaigns that require an easy-going approach.
Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc. has forty years of experience providing call center setup, reengineering, assessments, training, script development, and project management services to centers globally.