What is Call Centre Training?
A cornerstone of XL Marketing’s success has been the strong emphasis on training and agent engagement.
We believe that call centre training does not stop with the agents. Many people hear “call centre training” and they think of a one-time training program that helps customer service agents learn how to answer phones, use the system, and record information. While this is an essential TYPE of call centre training, it is the tip of the iceberg of a much larger effort.
What are the best call centre training techniques?
The best call centre training is hands-on. Agents learn best when they have a chance to participate and practice activities instead of listening to a teacher lecture or just watching a video. Soft skill training is also essential for excellent customer service. Key elements like the tone of voice, empathy, and attitude separate good agents from the great ones. The take-away is that those skills can be practiced with each interaction. Both inside and out of the centre.
We all learn differently. The best call centre group training includes a blend of teaching and training methods. Good training does more than teach. It transfers important information, like the company’s culture and its expectations, in a way that allows the agent to internalise the meaning. Beliefs lead to action. By helping the agent to adopt a belief in the culture, makes it much more likely they will take the right action in any circumstance.
Call centre training is very wide-reaching, and it doesn’t stop with the initial training. Agents need to have periodic refresher courses to help keep their skills fresh and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Some agents may also find that this gives them a chance to improve areas that may have been a struggle. Supervisors and managers can benefit from reminder training sessions as well to help them be more effective in their roles.
What is the best method of delivering call centre training?
On-site training is training is conducted at the call centre. Many agents learn better when they have the chance to explore training at their job site.
On-site call centre training has some important benefits. In this environment, training is very interactive and that can make it a team-building exercise. Agents and Supervisors can get to know each other during their training. This can help them build strong working relationships.
Onsite training also lets agents interact by asking questions on specific points and get immediate answers while the concepts are still fresh in mind. Further, agents can try out some of the things they are learning in a controlled and supervised environment. Instructors can give direct feedback and correct any misunderstandings about the material immediately. It can more easily instil the concept of team members helping each other improve. Agents can practice how to correct and improve by their words as well as their body language.
Online training is call centre training that happens via computer. It may be on-site or outside of the centre. It is convenient. Employees could complete their training via mobile phone or a laptop from home just as easily as at work. It may also be self-directed. This means that employees would be tasked with completing the training in their own time. In some cases, this type of call centre training is used to help agents who are struggling with a particular concept or skill.
On-line training is great for smaller centres where the manager or supervisors are often tasked with the trainer. The online courses can provide the baseline concepts and teach the expectations to a new agent. That frees the manager or leads to focus on the subject matter material, once the basic concepts of soft skills, communications, and customer service are complete.
Generally speaking, a bit of both on-site and online training often works best, especially for continuous education. This is called “blended training” and is ideal for centres large and small.
Online call centre training is a good way to reinforce live training. Agents can be reminded of previous sessions while working through concepts at their own unique paces. It can also work in the opposite direction, with agents preparing for a live training session by completing online training. This way, all the time spent with the instructor is interactive and live practice of the concepts. The online training essentially completes the lecture part of the training and makes it more engaging.
How to make the most out of call centre training.
After the agents have been on the floor for a few days, they should be asked what they liked and didn’t like about the training. Gauge whether they were adequately prepared them for the calls they are experiencing. The agents should also be asked what they would have liked more of in the training. This helps to tweak the training for the future so it can be more effective.
Empowering the Agents
Whether or not an agent is empowered will show in his or her performance and production. See whether the agents are following correct policies and whether they feel they are able to resolve issues. This is less about being technically able and more about feeling prepared, confident and empowered.
Be the Customer
Next, to see if the agents are performing as well as they can, be the customer. Call in to see how fast the call is answered and assess the customer experience. get other senior managers to do the same.
Measure the Results
The agent’s performance should be measured to see how the training has changed performance. Key performance indicators are a good place to start. First call resolution and average handle time will show if the call centre training is on track or not.
Call centre training can have a real impact on the company and its identity with customers and contacts. Whether the need is to train new agents, refresh the skills of existing ones or preparing the agents for new processes and programs, effective call centre training is essential.