There’s no doubt that customer engagement is an essential part of running any kind of business. If you’re not in a position to engage with your customers as effectively as possible, then you run the risk of losing that all-important connection with them.

This means that meeting customer expectations must always be a high priority and one of the central pillars of your customer service is your call center. If your call center isn’t providing the best customer service possible then that’s a serious problem for both your business’s relationship with its customers but also for your revenue streams.

Providing the best possible call center training for your employees is a much greater challenge than a lot of people realize. Because of that, here are some call center training tips that you can implement to improve agent performance.

1. Focus on Individual Needs

When it comes to call center training, you need to be sure that you’re not approaching it with a one-size-fits-all attitude. After all, your workforce includes people from all kinds of backgrounds, both personally and professionally.

This means that you need to approach this diversity with a diversity in training and teaching methods. Trying to hammer away with a single training method is likely to leave some employees confused and frustrated.

Let new and existing employees training know that it is okay to ask questions. When they do have a question, actively listen and provide helpful answers. Listening closely to their questions can also potentially help you learn more about how they operate and who they are as a person.

2. Create Simulations and Provide Case Studies

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There are few things more effective when training call center agents than hands-on (phones-on?) practice.

Agents should get a lot of experience dealing with common challenges so that they’re not thrown into the deep end with no direction. This means that things like simulations and role-plays are an essential part of any training program.

There are software training options out there that you can utilize, but having your newer agents role-play with those who are more experienced can also be just as effective.

You can also have them listen to previously recorded calls that you have saved for training purposes. This will give them an idea of the language and tone that is used with real customers. You can give them examples of successful calls, challenging calls, and anything in between.

Disclaimer: If you are using pre-recorded calls for training, please make sure that you have permission from the customer that was recorded to use the call or have a recording that specifically states that the call may be used for training purposes. 

3. Implement Social Learning

Training materials are incredibly valuable when it comes to helping your employees learn but it’s just as important to understand how much they learn from their peers. Internal forums are a great option when implemented in eLearning courses.

Social learning can also continue after the end of the training. Agents can help each other develop great habits and solve problems. This not only helps your employees develop their skills further but it keeps them engaged with each other.

4. Use Benchmarking

One of the most common mistakes that a lot of business owners tend to make is that they assume that their methods are successful and don’t take the time to analyze those methods.

If you want to be sure that your call center training is effective, use benchmarking to understand the current performance of your program.

Collect data from the calls with low satisfaction ratings and take note of where the gaps in performance are. Then take a look at your training program, compare it to industry standards, and think about the differences. After you collect this data and perform your analysis, you can then create a plan and implement changes that will improve your program.

The most difficult part of benchmarking is collecting high-quality data from calls. Some phone systems have issues pulling analytics like call wait times and customer satisfaction surveys which will make your job much harder.

Recommended Read: A Guide to Cloud Call Center Software and Business Benefits

5. Create Measurable Goals

smart-goals

Reducing costs, increasing revenue, and improving customer service are all essential goals for any call center. The issue is the fact that many goals are not specific enough.

If you really want to make sure that your call center training is working and that you’re pushing forward, you need to create measurable and achievable goals. Having both long and short-term metrics to strive towards is the best way to keep things moving forward all the time.

Consider using the SMART goals model in your business if you are not already.

Specific (simple, significant).

Measurable (meaningful, motivating).

Achievable (attainable).

Relevant (reasonable, realistic, results-based).

Time-bound (long term, short term)

6. Pay Attention to Your Technology

We touched on the importance of technology under the benchmarking section of this post, but a call center lives and dies on the quality of the technology that it uses.

This means that you need to pay close attention to the technology that you’re bringing into your call center and train your agents on how to use it correctly. The best technology in the world isn’t going to be worth a great deal if your employees have no idea how it actually functions.

Choose a system that allows you to choose all of the features you need like multiple queue assignment, location in queue announcement, and configurable call monitoring without sacrificing quality.

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Make sure that you’re approaching your training from a bottom-up approach so that you can better understand exactly what your call center employees need and how you can go about making sure that any training you provide is as consistent and effective as possible!