Why is call center training important?
Call center training is a critical component for any business, even smaller ones like those of plumbers and electricians. A company that has a well-trained team of callers can expect to see fewer customer complaints, higher customer satisfaction rates, and increased sales.
In this article, we will review what call center training entails, why it is vital to the success of your local business and some tips for getting the most out of your own training program.
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6 Tips to Improve Your Call Center Agent Training
77% of customers today want proactive service and as a call center agent, you can provide just that.
Luckily, companies offer knowledgeable insights through training for those who want to sharpen their listening skills.
Here are some of the best ones we’ve heard to date.
1. Choose the right e-learning or traditional training program.
When you’re looking at improving your call center agent training, the first step is to choose the right kind of program to deliver that training. Online training is one option you can consider as part of your employee engagement practices.
In today’s world, many companies are beginning to use blended learning programs as an alternative to traditional classroom training. E-learning can allow your agents to learn from almost anywhere, which means they can keep up with their studies wherever it’s convenient for them. Training courses via e-learning are also beneficial because they’re usually more affordable than traditional classroom training.
E-learning can be delivered over the internet, which means you don’t have to worry about shipping and handling costs or setting up an in-person training class for onboarding new hires.
This saves both time and money, especially if you need to train a lot of people at once or frequently update your training materials.
2. Align the call center training program with your business goals.
If you have a well-defined set of goals in mind when it comes time to hire a new batch of call-center employees (or when you need to train the next group of agents), they’ll know exactly what they’re being hired for and strive to fulfill that purpose.
For example, let’s say your business goal is to increase customer retention. To do this, you’re going to need a strong call center that can handle the influx of calls from existing customers who want to make sure their problem was resolved satisfactorily. You’ll also need a team of agents who can build rapport with these customers and reassure them about their experience.
This is where the call center comes into play. Using scripts, coaching, metrics and other tools and techniques, you can ensure that your agents are handling calls well enough to ensure customer retention.
3. Educate your contact center agents to be compliant.
In the contact center industry, many companies are moving to a compliance-based approach in their training programs, providing employees with comprehensive guidelines on how to deal with customer service issues. This approach is meant to instill in employees a strong sense of awareness of any potential issues they may encounter while handling calls.
An issue that many companies face when attempting to train their employees in this way is that compliance-based training requires an ongoing effort to keep the training fresh and up-to-date as company policies change. Some companies may neglect to update their training, resulting in a disparity between what the agent knows and what the agent has actually been taught.
The solution? Companies need to both develop and maintain a strong compliance-based training program that is updated regularly as new information is received from management or from regulatory agencies.
By providing access to these resources through a web portal, companies can ensure that their agents are educated and compliant at all times.
4. Use role-play and a hands-on approach to training.
Consider this: when someone calls in, they’re angry, frustrated, and have already been trying to get their problem solved for a while. They don’t want to listen to someone read an instruction manual aloud—they want a solution to their problem. The best way to improve training is through hands-on learning.
When you create call center agent training, it’s important to incorporate two elements: call recordings and role-play exercises.
You’ll get better results from your agents if you do this. They see your products and services up close, so they’re going to enjoy being able to use them in their jobs. This also gives them a sense of ownership over the process of servicing customers, which will lead to greater customer satisfaction and better results for you overall.
Call centers also often engage in role-playing scenarios where trainees act as customers and agents play the part of other agents or managers. This lets trainees experience what it feels like to be in these situations, so they can see how their attitude and demeanor make the difference between a good customer service experience and a bad one.
It also helps them learn how to handle specific situations like offering solutions when there isn’t one or explaining that they can’t help with this particular problem but can direct them to another department that might be able to assist them better.
5. Explain the importance of building customer relationships, etiquette, and best practices.
A call center is a business’s first line of defense against unhappy customers or qualifying leads. Building customer relationships is important is because of the nature of the job.
A good agent will still be able to advocate for the company’s best interests in a polite way, but it’s much easier for them to do that if they’ve spent time learning about the person on the other end of the line. Using their name and remembering details about their account helps emphasize that this isn’t just any random person, but a specific person who has called before.
That makes it more likely they’ll stick around during an angry outburst and keep working toward finding a solution that works for everyone involved.
Customers are more likely to be satisfied with their experience if the person helping them on the other end of the line has been trained to work towards building meaningful connections with his or her customers.
One of the best practices for call center agents includes making sure they ask the customer if they need help or information before giving it, asking open-ended questions instead of yes/no questions, and always trying to find something positive about what the customer is saying even if it’s not about their own product or service. Even further, it is important to be honest in telling your customers when something isn’t your fault.
Etiquette can make all the difference.
6. Continue to evaluate your team’s progress.
It’s easy to look at the numbers and say, “We’re doing a great job in training our agents.” But how do you actually know? There are a few assessments call center managers can make to evaluate the front-line progress of team members and call center staff.
First, you want to track data about agent performance and retention. Are agents meeting assigned key performance metrics (KPIs)? How are they handling their customer interactions? Are they meeting customer expectations? Tracking numbers like these can help you identify the spots where training is working well and where it could use some tweaking.
Ask yourself as you evaluate your call center training courses: are employees’ training needs being met? Can new agents opt for shadowing experienced agents in real-time and express themselves openly as learners? Do they have easy access to professional development resources, such as online course modules, a knowledge base, or skills training sessions?
If so, that positive attitude will trickle down into their customer support. If not, that negativity will also be felt by customers and can ultimately impact your bottom line.
As your company continues to grow and evolve, you should continue to evaluate call center training. What worked well in the past might not work as well today, so it’s important to remain flexible and open-minded when it comes to improving customer service training.
Provide 24/7 Customer Service Support with Signpost
Customer service is the foundation of a positive customer experience. With Signpost, you can take your contact center management to the next level through our 24/7 live receptionist support.
Signpost’s live receptionist service can be set up in a matter of minutes and is a great option for businesses operating customer call centers.
Take your customer support to the next level today with Signpost’s cost-effective solution. Request a demo today.