When customers contact a call center, they expect to have their issues addressed in an efficient, professional manner by a knowledgeable and empathetic agent. But this doesn’t happen by itself. Call center agency training is one of the most critical components of call center operations – and with rising customer expectations, having robust, effective, and continuous learning and development programs can mean the difference between a thriving organization and a struggling one.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the basics around call center agency training, fundamental elements for these programs, recommended techniques and strategies, and a few key takeaways.
Call center agency training is a structured program that trains agents for their jobs in call centers. Call center agency training helps agents build the needed skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles, which can encompass handling customer inquiries, resolving issues efficiently and effectively, and ultimately, providing a positive customer experience.
The importance of call center agency training cannot be overstated. By training call center agents and improving their knowledge, skills, and performance, call centers can boost performance and meet key performance indicators (KPIs).
Call center agency training is important for many reasons, including:
Overall efficiency and productivity The better call center agents are trained on products, services, and procedures, the better able they are to assist customers and address their inquiries quickly, and in a satisfactory manner, thus retaining those customers.
Keeping up with landscape shifts Call center agency training helps keep agents up to date on landscape shifts that can be industry-wide or internal. This can include training on:
Empowering agents Call center training’s biggest benefit is that it empowers agents, increasing not only their knowledge but also their confidence. In addition to product and service training, developing strong problem-solving and communication skills will boost agent morale and confidence.
Employee Retention The above elements – being knowledgeable and confident, having the autonomy to solve customer issues, and having the tools to execute their jobs – will increase employee retention rates.
And in turn, having a comprehensive training program for call center agents translates into an exceptional customer experience.
Effective call center training encompasses several key elements to ensure exceptional customer service and usually covers the following:
It begins with in-depth product/service training for agents, enabling them to provide accurate and important information to the customer. As part of this training, agents will hone their communication skills, including elements such as active listening, empathy, and clear articulation. Call center agency training also emphasizes problem-solving techniques, enabling agents to handle customer issues creatively and efficiently.
Time management and multitasking skills are also vital parts of call center agency training, helping agents efficiently manage high call volumes. Finally, continuous feedback, performance evaluations, and regular coaching sessions should be integrated into training programs to foster ongoing improvement and strong, trusting relationships between supervisors and their employees.
There are many training techniques and strategies for call center agency training. Below are some high-level and high-impact techniques and strategies:
Microlearning is an increasingly popular strategy in call center agency training. Microlearning delivers call center training courses, as well as knowledge checks and quizzes, into bite-sized modules delivered within the flow of work that can be completed in just a few minutes between calls. By leveraging AI, microlearning can be targeted, and triggered to send to agents automatically when learning and performance gaps are detected.
Generative AI for content creation
Creating online learning materials as part of call center agency training is an enormous task for admins – the sheer volume of what is needed can make it tough to roll learning materials out when they are needed and at scale. By leveraging generative AI, such as ChatGPT, admins can create materials for call center training courses in a matter of moments, making the process more efficient and scalable.
Coaching is a cornerstone of all center agent training programs. Consider augmented intelligence as part of coaching. This enables supervisors to focus less on the administrative aspect and more on the coaching conversations themselves, leading to much more meaningful and effective conversations. Call centers can also help managers prioritize their conversations and increase their impact by implementing platforms that include contextual coaching features.
Enhance QM processes
Quality management is part of the ongoing training program for call center agent training and development. To help optimize findings and recommend best actions for agent training, it is important to have enhanced quality assurance processes. For instance, providing segmented evaluation forms, transparency into the scores, ease in root cause evaluation, and a robust feedback loop will help agents and their supervisors better understand where the gaps are, why they occurred, and how to best address them.
Gamification is the application of game mechanics (such as leaderboards, levels, badges, points, rewards, and recognition) to a non-game context, such as call center agency training. By going beyond the leaderboard, creating an environment of friendly competition between agents and teams, and encouraging individuals to beat their own personal best as part of training call center agents, organizations will drive long-term behavioral change that results in better performance, and a better customer experience.
Personalize the experience
Call center agency training should include personalized learning and career paths for agents, tailoring learning to the agent’s needs, and taking into account their career goals and the requirements needed to fulfill those ambitions. By giving employees a sense of ownership over their career path and their own learning and development, call centers will produce happier, more engaged, more focused, and higher-performing agents.
It is important to encourage team building and collaboration as part of any call center agent training program. Implementing elements such as social sharing can greatly help newly hired and reboarded employees accelerate time to proficiency. By gamifying social sharing, employees can earn points for sharing their insights and experience, and vote on the tips and tricks they find especially helpful. In addition to the training aspect, social sharing can help with teambuilding efforts (including remote employees) and establish a culture of learning, collaboration, and trust.
Centrical’s connected Employee Performance eXperience Platform provides a complete solution that supports call center agent training and enables optimal employee performance. The platform includes every required capability to support call center agency training strategies, including targeted microlearning, real-time performance visibility, augmented coaching, advanced gamification, and quality management process enhancement. Centrical also has new generative AI capabilities to support automated training content creation.
Centrical customers have experienced solid results, including:
Watch the Centrical platform in action with a quick preview
We’ve just covered some of the fundamentals of call center agency training, including what it is, why it is important, and some recommended call center agency training strategies and techniques. A few key takeaways:
For over a decade, Centrical has partnered with leading call centers across industries and the globe to enhance call center agency training. To learn more about how Centrical can benefit your call center, watch our platform in action with a quick preview, and request your personalized demo today.