Agent Training is a Never Ending Story

Agent Training is a Never Ending Story

It’s often assumed that once an agent is trained during onboarding they are masters at what they do from then on. However, the best agents are the ones that are provided continuous learning, training and eventually work with teammates as mentors. Here are a few tips about agent training and how you can provide ongoing education within your contact center.

Training is not a static effort

An organization cannot stop at just the beginning. As the customer journey is evolving constantly and products or services are developed agents require updated information. Take cell phones for example. Imagine if you hired someone 10 years ago and only trained them on how to handle the Motorola Razor or Palm Pilot. Those products are no longer even in existence. Now cell phones operate as mini computers (sometimes even computing faster than an actual computer). The customer has also changed. They went from being only able to utilize their cell phones for calls, games, calendars/to do lists, and texting. Today the customer utilizes more data through applications than ever before. As products and services develop, agents need to be able to keep up with the customer and receive ongoing coaching and training to ensure they are giving customers better advice and service.

Agents learn in different ways.

Some learners are auditory and require asking a lot of questions and conversation to comprehend information. They easily get bored sitting in a classroom or streaming through a slide deck. Visual learners usually require diagrams or pictures to understand. Finally, kinesthetic learners require repetition. Providing regular coaching and training that touches all three learning styles ensures your agents provide better customer service.

Provide a toolbox to give management efficiency and effectiveness.

Being able to quickly assess where an agent is in their skill set allows supervisors and organizations as a whole to assess gaps. If your team is green and needs frequent reminders about the basics of how your organization communicates and problem solves with customers then you may want to give them the small pieces of information with quizzes to ensure comprehension. A more developed team or agent may just need regular performance evaluations to ensure quality.

Although there are many ways to achieve proper agent coaching and training remember there are several experts who mastered policy adherence and management. CXM is one of those experts. We’ve been working with contact centers for over twenty years and develop our own software. No customer is the same. We work at helping your organization assess missing gaps. We then provide solutions to bring value to your contact center. If you’d like to learn more reach out to us at sales@cxmrecord.com or check out a few of our other resources like How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Quality Monitoring.

How to Handle an Emotional Customer

How to Handle an Emotional Customer

Emotions drive all of us on a daily basis. Some emotions are positive and get us excited about an event, product or moment. Negative emotions do just the opposite and can have a rippling effect where we are turned away from something. Buyers buy on emotion not logic. Then, once they settle on a product or service they tend to rationalize their emotional purchase.

Take for instance this scenario: I have an upcoming event and set out a budget for what shoes I plan on buying. While I’m out shopping I find a pair that’s triple my original budget. I rationalize the purchase by saying I’ll wear them time and time again. In reality the shoes I am buying are three times what I planned on spending. It is emotion that moved me to purchase the expensive shoes.

When a customer contacts a business for sales or service they are looking for assistance. Maybe they are frustrated with their current solution. Maybe they are upset because their purchase isn’t functioning right. It is up to the agent on the other end of the phone to turn their negative emotions into something positive. How does a company achieve this? It begins with having the right tools for quality monitoring and agent training.

Quality monitoring can be accomplished a variety of ways but the most effective is to have software allowing the supervisor to be able to see the agent’s screen while listening to a call. Being able to quickly and efficiently pull calls to view and hear can drastically impact a supervisor’s resources. Once a call is reviewed, being able to give feedback immediately allows the agent to correct their behavior while it’s fresh on their mind. The longer amount of time that goes by between the original call and feedback to the agent, the more an organization risks losing potential customers.

After a call is reviewed and evaluated, a supervisor should be able to push appropriate training to the agent for skill development. Ongoing self-paced training is a key in contact center efficiency. This allows the agent to hone their skills and provide a better customer experience. Happy customers usually return for more services in the future while disgruntled customers immediately break ties. If you would like to learn more about agent coaching check out our previous post 6 Things About Agent Training Every Contact Center Needs to Know.

6 Things About Agent Training Every Contact Center Needs to Know

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Agent training is imperative to running an effective contact center. Service Level can't be met properly without training your employees effectively. Training starts with several components from selecting the right agent with the right set of skills to providing ongoing coaching and feedback. Here are six things about agent training your organization should know:

  • Hiring talent - Contact centers are full of bustling calls and providing sales or customer service. Your hiring process should begin by isolating the attributes you are looking for out of a great employee. For some it may include a technical background for troubleshooting while others it may include being able to handle irate customers when a call is coming in about a problem. Beginning with the right people is the first step.
  • Have an effective new hire on-boarding process - The first 90 days someone is employed is the most expensive to a company. If your on-boarding process is too overwhelming or ineffective that's just not going to work in the long run and increases attrition. Think of your agents as your biggest investment and develop a process that allows them to retain the information they need to be effective in the long run.
  • Give them the proper tools - Another reason employees are not unsuccessful at their job is because they do not have the proper equipment. If the computer is running slow or their is static on their phones that does not equip them to handle high call volume. From contact center software to the seats they sit in, ensuring they have what they need makes their job easier and more effective.
  • Give ongoing feedback - Quality monitoring starts with performance evaluations. If you wait a month later to give an agent feedback you are in store for a disaster. Feedback that is completed in real-time gives the agent the opportunity to immediately correct their actions. Also, by giving them positive feedback quickly it reinforces what they are doing.
  • Push training modules that are applicable to their needs - Once feedback has been delivered, follow up with necessary training. You can use tools specifically designed to push modules to them along with their performance evaluations. That allows them to review the information they need to quickly make adjustments.

In conclusion, create a smooth process from the day an agent is hired, provide effective training and allow ongoing performance evaluations sets your agents up to be successful. When an agent is provided the right tools it decreases attrition and maintains service levels. Remember, happy employees who are given proper attention are more productive employees. You can check out more about agent training by reviewing Five Tips for Coaching Your Agents to Success!