Cut Agent Training Time in Half
Training is the critical step that prepares new agents before they are ready to serve your customers. Obviously it’s important to get it right, but it’s also true that the time devoted to training is time when that agent is being paid, but not yet doing the job for which he or she was hired.
How much time are we talking about? As much as one month at some contact centers, and sometimes even longer.
While companies may be hesitant to cut training time, it is possible to do so responsibly – here are some ideas for how to make it happen.
Prepare materials that the agent-in-training can take home to study. Not just the script, but also a list of best practices and frequently asked questions. You can also create an audio file of successful customer engagements, so new hires can hear exactly what is expected of them.
Some contact centers have found that agents respond faster to training when it comes from another agent, rather than a manager or call center executive. There is less pressure in a peer-to-peer situation, and the new agent may feel more comfortable asking questions about the job and about why certain procedures are in place.
Get to That First Call Faster
It has to happen sometime – but do some agents really need four or more weeks of training and instruction before taking their first customer call?
It’s a big sink-or-swim moment, and should be closely monitored by a trainer who can jump in and take over if there’s an issue. But if the rest of your training regimen is sound, it’s worth trying to accelerate the pace to this training stage. It also gives you an actual call that can now be reviewed and scored using the quality management techniques already in place at your contact center.
Before providing this feedback, however, ask the new agent to assess his or her own performance – how did they handle the greeting? Was there a selling opportunity missed? How would that customer rate that service experience? Self-coaching should be an important part of the agent’s job, so it’s helpful to get a head start here as well.
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