Call center agents are at the core of every brand’s customer experience. As they are given the important tasks of communicating with customers and finding solutions while using numerous technologies, it’s essential that they receive the proper training to deliver the best service possible. Here are seven tips for training call center agents effectively.
1. Use Customer Feedback As Training Material
Customer feedback helps your brand decide which improvements need to be made and how agents may be trained to handle situations. For example, if customers feel that their conversations with agents are taking too long or that they are being re-routed too often, it may be necessary to explore issues such as average handling time and making sure that agents are matched to the most appropriate channels or departments.
2. Offer Peer Training and Gamification
During training sessions, it can be helpful for agents to work in pairs and assess each other’s performance. In addition, top-performing agents may share their best practices with peers. Gamification can also be a fun way to encourage healthy competition during training practices. You can offer cash prizes or even offer a free lunch to the winner(s).
3. Use Role-Playing and Real-Life Examples
Role-playing is an excellent way to help agents practice their communication skills while learning to understand how customers feel. Supervisors should use examples of actual customer service interactions in the call center to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of each interaction. Agents may take turns playing different roles so that everyone can offer their feedback on how improvements may be made.
4. Place Agents in Roles That Match Their Skills
Agents may be trained to interact with customers on different channels, but it’s important to note each individual’s strengths. For example, an agent may have a spontaneous personality that is essential for social media communications, while another might have strong interpersonal skills that would work well for the voice channel. Matching agents to the most appropriate roles or channels ensures better customer service while empowering them to do their best in the roles that suit them well. Never place an agent where they don't feel comfortable, the only result you will get is failure.
5. Train Agents to Use Contact Center Technologies
Agents must be highly skilled in the use of call center technologies. For example, a CRM is often an essential tool in the call center, so agents must learn how to perform functions such as accessing and updating customer data, handling inbound and outbound contacts, managing prioritized callbacks, and making contact with peers and supervisors as necessary. If your agents don't know how your company CRM functions you can't expect them to have success.
6. Use Call Scripts to Teach Soft Skills
It’s important to establish rules about customer service language, such as words to avoid (the word basically should never be used) and expressions that should be used. Call scripts may therefore be used to teach agents soft skills and help them understand the voice and image of the brand. During training sessions, agents should also be encouraged to offer their feedback so that revisions can be made to improve customer service practices.
7. Give Agents Clear Objectives
Lastly, agents cannot be expected to succeed without knowing their brand’s objectives. In addition to helping them understand the brand’s history and values, it’s essential to define objectives. For example, if a metric such as FCR (first contact resolution) is more important that AHT (average handling time), this should be clearly established. Giving agents clearly defined goals by establishing the customer service culture of the brand helps them succeed and deliver experiences that align with brand goals.
Call center agents are the human face of every brand, representing its values while working hard to deliver experiences that match its goals. With effective training, they may be true brand ambassadors who deliver quality experiences every time.
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