There has been a great deal of improvement made in the software and other tools used in call centers. But many call center managers and owners are not getting the most out of their investment in these items because of one simple mistake. They are relying solely on technology to improve their conversions. But there also needs to be equal focus on training to ensure that agents are at their best on every call and communication with clients.
And unlike a one-time investment in a new dialer or software suite, managers need to accept that call center agent training needs to be constantly evolving. Training at the time of hire is more about the fundamental processes of the business and the flow of call center work. But as the agents become more comfortable and proficient at the basics, there needs to be educational opportunities to refine skills, learn new skills, and continue to grow into the role of a superstar sales closer. Some things to remember when thinking about your agent training practices include:
Working in teams, agents can practice new scripts or refine their delivery on a current scenario. And by working in teams, agents have the ability to learn from each other. Something as simple as sharing a tip or idea on a specific question to ask a potential client can be beneficial. And while each agent spends most days focused on only his or her performance, working in small groups or teams to role-play for just 30 minutes will reinforce the importance of the entire team.
Having input from peers is always helpful. But some agents will not really take a peer’s comments to heart. However, when the advice comes from a manager or superior, the lesson is heard more clearly. Using the recording and listening capabilities of your software to monitor an agent’s call for review purposes can provide some significant improvements in his or her conversion numbers. Sometimes just hearing yourself on a call recording will provide an agent with a new point of view or appreciation of your insight.
If time permits, employing this training tool on a monthly basis is a great way to help agents grow and improve. It is also a way to demonstrate that the managers are motivated to help agents grow, rather than just firing the ones who are struggling. This is a tremendous morale boost for everyone working on the floor.
Group training sessions can be hard to schedule. Gathering your team off shift can mean that personal schedules need to be altered. But the benefits are well worth the trouble. Setting a regular schedule so that agents know that once each month they need to attend a group training will make the scheduling less stressful for them.
During this group training is a great time to answer questions that agents have asked over the course of the last month. Sometimes, agents will not want to look uninformed or not as smart as someone else and will not ask a question even in a one on one situation. But if one agent asked a question privately, it is a good bet that other agents have the same question and are afraid to ask it.
While you might think that your shiny new dialer is the most valuable tool in your call center, that is not the case. Without well-trained agents, all the technology in the world is not going to get you to reach your goals. Remember, training is an ongoing evolution. It begins the moment a new agent is hired. But it needs to continue if you want your agents to grow and increase their ability and their conversion numbers.