Don’t Forget Ongoing Agent Training
September 12, 2016
Call center agents should never complete their education. If agents claim to have finished training, either they’re deluding themselves or their call center is letting them down. Agent training isn’t a once-and-done task. It must be ongoing. Seriously.
Here are four key types of ongoing agent training:
Advanced Skills Training: Initial agent training covers basic competencies. Until agents can learn and apply these fundamental abilities in a real-world setting, it makes no sense to provide additional training. However, once agents have shown proficiency with the essentials, they should move on to receive advanced training. One key area is teaching them additional customer service skills, soft skills, to more effectively deal with unusual caller situations.
Call Evaluation: All call centers record caller conversations. In most call centers a quality assurance advisor will listen to a sample of calls to rate them and provide agent feedback. To be most effective the feedback should happen as close to the call as possible. Address actions needing attention, but focus on the positive aspects of the call to reinforce the agent’s great work.
Corrective Action: In an ideal situation mistakes would never occur. Yet they do. Even the most seasoned and accomplished agents sometimes mess up. While ignoring errors is a tempting response, doing so is never constructive and only serves to increase the chance of a repeat episode. Instead meet with the agent as soon as possible to point out the error or offer corrective alternatives. Do this in private without letting other agents know what is occurring. Also avoid taking corrective action during the agent’s breaks or after they clock out. Make it quick. Say what you need to say and move on.
New Instruction: Call centers are never static places. There are software updates to understand, new apps to grasp, advanced integrations to master, and new computers to adjust to. In addition new accounts start service and must be learned, while existing accounts implement different processes to follow. Ineffectual call centers let their agents discover these changes on the fly and expect them to figure out solutions in the midst of live calls. Professional call centers provide needed training in advance so agents are fully prepared to embrace changes before they encounter them for the first time.
Agents are the key to successful call centers, and ongoing training is the key to effective agents. Start training today and never stop.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at email@example.com or call 800-901-7706 to learn more about arranging specific training for your organization.
Peter DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan and a longtime member of the TAS industry.
Top 10 Answering Service Essentials
Toward the end of last year, Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews firm, surveyed 300 US-based companies that used answering services. The items on their ...
Answering Service Case Study: Insurance Agent Loses with Answering Machine
By Peter DeHaan As an independent insurance agent, Jack Kippling had been in the industry most of his career. To grow his clientele he would bu...
4 Keys to Tracking Online Ad Effectiveness
The beauty of using online marketing to promote your telephone answering service is the ready availability of performance data to analyze a marketing ...
5 Benefits from Outsourcing Your Healthcare Call Center
There are many advantages in outsourcing healthcare call center work. Consider these five benefits before you categorically dismiss the idea of outsou...
Answering Service Case Study: Restoration Service Saves the Day—and the House
By Peter DeHaan Michael and Susan Carbine had spent the last six months doing a meticulous remodel of their beloved home. Their kitchen was las...
5 Tips to Grow Your Answering Service
Most everyone who owns or runs a telephone answering service dreams of growing it bigger. This allows you to service more clients, provide jobs to mor...
Use an Answering Service to Answer Caller’s Questions
Most people know that telephone answering services can take messages, but answering services also excel at giving out information. In either instance,...
How to Select a Call Center Broker
Using a call center broker to help you find an outsource call center to process your calls offers many benefits. A call center broker can save you tim...