Agents are one of the most important aspects of any call center. Because of this, proper training and education is vital for success. Unfortunately, not everyone has the best strategy in place when it comes to providing agents with knowledge.
A lack of knowledge can cause a ripple effect within a call center. It can affect interactions with customers, errors while using software or even play a part in agent attrition rates caused by frustration. This is why it’s important to have a good call center training program available.
Agents are not the only ones who can benefit from training, either. Leaders and managers all need to be on the same book and page to produce a strong chain. Any weakness in this chain may cause it to break, leading to problems within the workload and inefficiency when handling customers.
About Call Center Training
Call center training is often broken down into two distinct paths: one for management and another for agents. Educating both parties results in a more fluid operation. Otherwise, there is a possibility of disconnect between employees and managers.
While it doesn’t hurt for managers to train on the same systems as agents, their focus is more centered on optimizing the call center and keeping employees motivated. This usually entails monitoring calls randomly and looking for ways to improve those interactions.
Skillful and knowledgeable management often leads to customer and agent satisfaction. For instance, poor managerial skills affect the mindset of the agent. If the agent is in a negative mood because of management, he or she could translate frustration to an unsuspecting caller. The result is a bad customer experience.
Agent training tends to focus more on engaging with individuals. Because their primary function is to interact with callers, agents need to have “people skills.” Creating an interpersonal and emotional bond with a caller goes a long way to promote loyalty for the call center’s brand.
Another aspect of agent training is learning about products, services and marketing objectives. The more an agent knows about the brand, the more informative he or she is when speaking with a customer. This empowers agents and allows them to solve problems quickly in a myriad of situations.
The Importance of Training Call Center Agents
Trained agents are a crucial part of any successful call center. Those with knowledge are more confident and satisfied in their jobs. Both of these elements are easily transmitted to callers regardless if they are on the phone or in an online chat room.
By fully understanding the company’s goals and the customer’s needs, the agent is more efficient and ready in any event. At which point, handling times improve as well as first-call resolutions. The bottom line of proper training is a facility with overall superior productivity.
Call Center Agent Training Program
The program for training agents has several key components which are essential for success. While each facility will have variations depending on their software and technological needs, all should have a similar layout to the following.
Technical Training for Software and Devices
One of the most important aspects of training is understanding how the system works as a whole. This includes things like help desk software, ticket systems, dialers and any other communication channels that are implemented. Any tool the agent will possibly use should be detailed in the training program.
There is a reason why video content is one of the fastest forms of marketing on the Internet. People are more receptive to video content, and using training videos only helps to strengthen an agent’s understanding of any material. Agents should have access to this content at all times whether in the classroom or at home.
A large portion of people learn better through practical application. This means it’s often more efficient to provide some form of on-the-job training and letting agents see the outcome of their performance. This also gives management a chance to assess if an agent needs further training or assistance.
Detailed Product Information
Agents who know the exact details behind products or services are more adept at assisting callers. Understanding these goods allows agents to further interact with customers, make suggestions for other products and allows them to deal with most situations on their own in an efficient and positive manner.
Call Center Schedule Adherence
When an agent isn’t available, it increases the workload for the team. Managers often assign agents according to caller forecasts. New hires may not fully comprehend the value behind adhering to this set schedule. It needs to be addressed and explained how a single agent can impact the call center.
Rapport with Customers
Building a rapport with customers greatly boosts customer satisfaction. Although agents don’t have to become best friends with a caller, connecting on an emotional level makes interaction better for all involved. Agents need to understand that without the caller, the agent has no job. It’s a symbiotic relationship that needs nurturing.
Assessments of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Every agent needs to know which KPIs managers will be watching. This provides goals for personal growth and a guideline of what is expected. However, assessments don’t just stop there. Managers also need to help agents by giving them ideas and methods to improve their abilities.
Best Practices for Handling Calls
Although it’s nearly impossible to train for every contingency in the call center, defining ideal practices is beneficial in the long run. Show agents how calls should start and end. An excellent method is to allow practice calls before the agents go live. It helps them feel more comfortable, relaxed and confident, which affects interactions with a caller.
A well-trained agent is less likely to make mistakes and more likely to enjoy his or her job. As a result, the company becomes more efficient at handling customers while improving the reputation of the facility. In a world where the competition is great, knowledge is the agent’s greatest tool.
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