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How to get more out of your agent training

How to get more out of your agent training

When trying to meet and improve service level agreements, reviewing agents’ performance and providing adequate training is imperative for success.

Unfortunately making time for agent training doesn’t always seem possible. Contact centres are notorious for being extremely busy and agent time is closely monitored to ensure customers’ calls are promptly answered. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual agent turnover rate for contact centres varies between 30% and 45%, which leaves you with not enough time to properly train them and get your ROI.

There are a few things you can start implementing immediately to help you meet your training needs with less time and effort whilst improving your outcomes.

1. Give agents access to their call recordings

A simple way to start training your agents is to give them access to their own call recordings. By doing so, you provide agents with a quick way of self-evaluation that can make them immediately aware of areas that need to be improved.

By sharing calls with agents, training can be delivered directly from their workstation so to compliment your standard classroom sessions or even replace them.

Moreover, quick training sessions can be incorporated into team meetings by listening to a sample of customer calls. Ask your agents to listen through their calls and present one of them back to their team with thoughts on performance. Alternate between good and bad calls to highlight were the differences lie and get the team to start sharing best practice advice and experiences in order to fill in knowledge gaps and learn from each other.

How to get more out of your agent training

How to get more out of your agent training

2. Don’t randomise call selection

Make sure you are selecting the right calls for training. You can find specific calls targeting business insight, through simple technologies like a scaled down word search option. 

A recent survey conducted by Business Systems revealed that 60% of contact centres in the UK select recorded calls for training purposed at random. By doing so they will most likely get a distorted image of the agent’s performance as important calls might be missed. You can avoid making this common mistake by using word search options, which allow you to easily highlight calls based on specific keywords. Through this technology you can quickly find both good and bad calls and, as such, better understand areas the agent actually needs further training in. Having this kind of understanding will allow you to better tailor sessions to include important areas of interest, instead of focusing on random issues.

3. Use your scheduling and forecasting technology to help you block out training times when you typically experience low connect rates

Use your Workforce Management technology to understand when your peak times are and when you can afford to have agents away from their work station. This is extremely useful as it can ensure you have sufficient capacity to deliver a good service whilst scheduling time for training.

Using smart technology will allow you to schedule your training around your staffing needs as well as gain flexibility to accommodate real-time fluctuations in workload. By planning in advance, it will ensure training does indeed happen and decrease frustration amongst trainers, team leaders and supervisors.

4. Have a plan

When thinking about training, ask yourself:

  • What are the most important skills for the team to have and what are ‘nice to have’? Plan training sessions based on important skills that will affect the agent’s performance first. ‘Nice to have’ training can be accommodated within team meeting time or 1-2-1s as needed.
  • Request that the planners schedule a minimum of ‘must deliver’ and ‘essential’ training for your team and calculate the necessary shrinkage
  • Use ready available data, good and bad call recordings, to get a clear and realistic picture of the agent’s performance.
  • Look at past training events that resulted in positive outcomes and replicate them in this year’s plan. New, as well as old employees will benefit from a review of outstanding sessions.

Here you have it! 4 tips that you can implement immediately to get training on its way

  • Give your agents access to their own calls
  • Don’t randomise call selection for training
  • Schedule training using your WFM technology
  • Make a plan!

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