call center training strategies

4 Strategies for Training Contact Center Agents

When I was asked to write a blog about successful training programs, I thought back to my time at a contact center for a well-known cruise line. As an agent, I held several distinct honors such as employee of the month, top sales, highest revenue per destination and highest revenue per month. I don’t list them to brag, but I think I’m qualified to say I was a successful agent.

Being an agent is challenging. Getting a successful resolution can come down to attitude, product knowledge, initiative or one of a hundred other things. Therefore, a contact center is best served by a well-rounded agent capable of handling a multitude of situations. The following four strategies can help.

  1. Repetition

    This could be applied to any number of aspects of the training experience. I’d like to focus on repetition as it applies to handling technology. Put yourself in the shoes of a caller and imagine you’ve been asked to ‘bear with me’ for the fifteenth time as your agent hunts diligently for the specific form required to fulfill your request. You might be feeling a bit of impatience at being repeatedly asked to wait.

    Compare that agent to one who knows by experience where the necessary form is and, while briefly retrieving it, asks you about your latest positive experience with the product or service. You are much less likely to feel impatient and instead feel engaged. By repeatedly exposing agents to resource utilization and location, in training and real scenarios, the agent is being set up to succeed.

    One caveat; do your best to make that technology easy to use!

  2. Positive Exposure

    As a sales agent I recognized that successful sales agents earned more and were generally positive. So, I asked to sit next to the best sellers. I didn’t do this to emulate them... well, in part I did because we were commissioned and I wanted to hear their knowledge, but I wanted that positive influence. Get agents exposed to positive experiences!

    One very under-utilized resource are recorded calls. While evaluating calls create a chain of excellent call examples and make time for your agents to hear them.

    What a terrific opportunity to broaden a training experience! Evaluate a recorded call as a group.

  3. Continuing Education and Training

    A great initial training program with few or no refreshers is missing a huge benefit. Offer refreshers at regular intervals. Keep knowledge consistent and growing. Correct, instruct and encourage agents to share their experiences, even the shy ones.

  4. Train the Trainer

    Keeping trainers engaged in learning is one of the best ways to create knowledgeable agents. The trainer is the first substantial experience every agent has. The trainer creates the agents core of knowledge. He or she strives to create a consistent knowledge base, but sharing additional insight and experience helps create interest and excitement!

    Have your trainers set goals to learn something new themselves and challenge them to complete those goals.

I’ve just shared four strategies that can help create well-rounded agents capable of handling diverse situations. These strategies helped me as an agent and influence me in my work as a technical trainer.

I wish you luck and success in your new or existing training programs!