5 Tips for Training Contact Center Agents

People Development, Training

Recent studies suggest that 66 percent of customers, when calling a contact center, expect to speak to someone that is friendly. They find the agent demeanor more important than fast resolution or shorter hold times. How can you ensure your agents provide warm, helpful support over the phone? Provide them with clear guidance and ongoing customer service training and feedback.

Follow these tips to help your agents exceed customer satisfaction:

1 – Start your new employees on the right path

Demonstrate your dedication to your agents by providing them with clear documentation around objectives and procedures. Agents want to know what’s expected of them and how they can find information if they need it. Invest time in an internal knowledge base with resources like call scripts, job aids, and easily accessible training videos.

2 – Shorten the learning curve

Equip your agents with easy-to-use tools. They have a lot to learn about your services, products, and customers. Equip them with tools that streamline workflows, limits repetitive tasks, and make customer information readily accessible. Having to learn various systems and programs can extend training time and easily discourage new employees. Invest in phone support solution that’s integrated with other support channels that make customer record finding a breeze. This will save your agents loads of time.

3 – Pair them with veteran employees

Exposure to agents that exemplify a positive service interaction will set the bar. Give them time to shadow these agents or listen to call recordings.

4 – Don’t wait to offer constructive feedback

As soon as agents start taking calls, you’ll need to find a way to identify areas for improvement and provide constructive feedback. Many call center software comes with a call monitoring feature allowing you to listen to calls, even when your agents are remote. Don’t wait too long to provide feedback. Learning is most effective when they have something recent to reflect to. Be sure not to overlook this.

5 – Provide support through tough calls

It’s easy for new agents to be discouraged after experiencing tough calls. Reassure them by having their backs as they learn the ropes. Longer calls indicate an agent is dealing with a tough issue. Monitor these calls through your dashboard and be readily available in case support is needed. Provide your agents with an easy way to communicate with you. I have found an Instant Messaging tool to be very successful in contact center environments.

Your agents should be focusing on customer interactions rather than workflows. Customers can feel when agents are comfortable and confident, and you’ll see the difference in customer satisfaction.

 

2 thoughts on “5 Tips for Training Contact Center Agents

  1. Great tips Guillermo! I used to support our Helpdesk team and sadly not all of these suggestions were met. I totally agree with your last statement, that the interaction should be the most important part, but out of curiosity, how do you handle if the call center team has strict SLAs to maintain? We always had to walk a fine line between customer satisfaction and response times. As much as a customer may want a step-by-step hand hold, how do you balance that with the “Oh that’s training, here’s a web link” mentality/necessity?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jen,

      There’s certainly a balance that needs to be managed almost on a daily basis. It’s not often that a customer requires a step-by-step hand hold, although, if it’s something that’s happening on a regular basis, then team leads or supervisors will need to take a look at these occurrences and identify patterns that’s causing long talk times.

      I regularly meet with our department leads to discuss areas of improvement to keep all our stakeholders happy. Many times the phrase “training is needed” is brought up before all possible factors are considered, such as staffing, policies and procedures, or IVR structure.

      SLAs are crucial to the contact center’s survival, but it’s important to understand that a balance is needed to meet SLAs while keeping customer satisfaction up. After all, SLAs wouldn’t exist if customers didn’t calling in.

      Like

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